NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Monday attacked the government for trying to present a rosy picture about the state of affairs in the President's address, and not reflecting on the challenges of rising unemployment and border tension being faced by the country.
Participating in the ongoing discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Motion of Thanks on the President's Address, he also asked the government to check alleged hate speeches being made by certain sections as such statements disturb the social harmony and impacts India's image globally.
Terming the President's address as "disappointing", Sharma said it negates the "ground realities and challenges" prevailing in the country.
Whosever wrote the address, has done injustice with the President, Sharma said in his speech, which he said could be the last one in the Upper House.
His current term as Rajya Sabha MP ends on April 2, 2022.
Sharma said a rosy picture has been presented in the address that India was successful on every front and does not face any challenges.
Everyone, including the government and the opposition parties, wants India's progress, he said, and asserted that all governments have contributed in the country's growth since independence.
He stressed that India did not start making progress only after 2014 (when NDA government assumed power at the Centre), but the journey started 74 years ago.
The Congress leader also raised concerns about unemployment and said around 42 crore people need jobs as per the government data.
Sharma stressed on the need to create employment opportunities for young people.
He pointed out that the gaps between rich and poor are widening and mentioned that 50 per cent of the population own just 3 per cent of the country's wealth.
Sharma said one third of the industrial capacity is idle currently, with challenge on supply-demand side.
He also talked about rising debt of the country.
The Congress leader also rued that the President's address did not mention the tension on borders, from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.
He said the parliament should get information on what is happening on the national security front.
Meanwhile, Sharma welcomed the government's decision to start Republic day celebration from January 23, which is the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
He also criticised the government for merging Amar Jawan Jyoti with external flame at the National War Memorial in Delhi.
"Flames cannot be merged," he said.
Sharma also raised the issue of alleged hate speeches and attack on minorities, while asserting that the country belongs to everyone.
He demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should assure the country and send a message across the world that India is the largest democracy and is governed by the constitution where no divisive issues will be permitted.