The Centre on Wednesday approved President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament. It will be delivered on the opening day of the Budget session on February 21.
The meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the draft of the address. The speech is likely to outline the Centre’s policies and programmes, and highlight its efforts to revive the economy, fight terror and corruption, and improve relations with neighbours.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointed out that the UPA Government has taken several steps for improving mechanisms and instrumentalities to counter terrorism. He also promised to bring down fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent by next year from the current level of 5.3 per cent.
The Centre, among other things, is set to bring a Bill on tackling sexual crimes against women. An ordinance to this effect was promulgated last week. Increase in crimes against SC/ST women, minorities and children may find mention in the President’s speech.
The Centre, which is upbeat about its recent achievements in tackling terrorism and controlling the spread of Left wing extremism, may include these issues in the President’s address.