People have high hopes from new government: PM (Lead)

May 19th, 2009 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) The huge mandate secured by the Congress-led UPA has brought with it the challenge of “rising expectations” and the people would not tolerate a “business as usual” attitude, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday, while extending a “hand of friendship” to all parties across the political spectrum to work together.
Addressing the newly elected Congress MPs, the prime minister said: “The youth of India have voted in large numbers for our party. But it is in the nature of youth to be impatient. They will not tolerate ‘business as usual’ (attitude).”

Manmohan Singh, who was named leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party here, stressed the need for better governance.

“The youth expect the government to cater to their aspirations. They expect a more responsive government.”

Indicating that there was no room for complacency, Manmohan Singh said: “The people of India have given us an impressive mandate. They have rubbished the fashionable theory of anti-incumbency.

“But we have to work harder and better to secure a wholesome mandate entirely in our favour. That is the challenge before our party and our government.”

Manmohan Singh spoke the language of consensus as he said: “We will extend a hand of friendship to members of all political parties, cutting across the political spectrum and invite them to play the role of a constructive opposition.”

“I sincerely hope the 15th Lok Sabha will witness a more cooperative atmosphere and more productive proceedings.” he added. The 14th Lok Sabha was marked by incessant wranglings during the parliament sessions, with the opposition staging innumerable walk outs over issues.

The first priority, Manmohan Singh said, would be to “re-energise the government and improve governance”.

“We have to make government more efficient and effective, more responsive and active,” he added.

The prime minister urged the first time MPs to understand the parliamentary practices and hoped that the new Lok Sabha would witness a more co-operative atmosphere and more productive proceedings.

“I hope each of you will rise to the expectations of your voters and retain their trust and support,” he said.

“The world is watching with eagerness whether India’s experiment with democracy can also deliver development and eradicate poverty, ignorance and disease. Our success gives hope not just to millions in our country but across the world,” he said.

He also emphasised upon the need to tackle the economic slowdown effectively.

“The global economic slowdown has hurt us. There is some slowing down of investment and employment generation. We have to reverse this. We have to revive growth and make it even more inclusive,” Manmohan Singh said.

He said that he would ask every minister to set time-bound targets for implementation of their election promises and the various programmes and policies of each ministry.

“We will undertake quarterly review of programme implementation by each ministry,” he added.

“The composition of our party in the new Lok Sabha is a blessing for the government. You represent a healthy mix of experience, talent and youthful enterprise. Our government will therefore be a blend of experience and energy,” he further said.

Speaking on India’s neighbours, the prime minister said: “Our neighbourhood remains troubled by civil conflict, extremism and terrorism. We need a government that is vigilant and effective in dealing with the threat of terrorism and extremism,” he said.

“I assure you that we will not be found wanting in this regard. The assurance of internal security is a top most priority for is,” he added.

He said the Congress-led government’s flagship schemes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, National Rural Health Mission, Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission and programmes for the welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and minorities would be strengthened and taken forward.

“Ensuring that our growth process is socially and regionally inclusive and equitable will be a priority for us. Ensuring that people of all regions, all religions, all languages and castes benefit from growth will be a priority for us,” the prime minister said.

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