UPA government to ensure food to poor, says PatilJune 4th, 2009 - 1:14 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led coalition will guarantee 25 kg of rice or wheat each month to impoverished families, President Pratibha Patil said Thursday.
Unveiling the new government’s agenda, the president said it would also give priority to boost urban employment and to battle recession.
“In 2004 my government had set before the country a vision of an inclusive society and an inclusive economy. My government sees the overwhelming mandate it has received as a vindication of the policy architecture that it put in place,” Patil told a joint session of parliament, which met for the first time after the Lok Sabha elections brought back the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to power.
The president spelt out the policies and programmes of the Congress and its allies, highlighting that 10 areas would get top billing during Manmohan Singh’s second tenure in office.
These include internal security, growth in agriculture and manufacturing, health and education, governance reform and energy security.
“A continuing priority of my government would be to consolidate the ongoing flagship programmes for inclusion. This will require re-energising government and improving governance,” Patil said.
“The yearning of our young people for inclusiveness - economic, social and cultural - and the rejection of the forces of divisiveness and intolerance that my government spoke of in 2004 continues as both its inspiring vision and unfinished business.”
The president also dwelt on the 100-day action plan on Manmohan Singh’s government that is expected to give emphasis to the UPA’s unfinished agenda.
This will cover early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill providing one-third reservation for women, constitutional amendment to provide 50 percent reservation for women in Panchayats, strengthening the Right to Information, roadmap for judicial reforms in six months and a delivery monitoring unit in Prime Minister’s office to monitor flagship programmes.
The president said a national counter-terrorism centre would be set up along with special forces and quick response teams. Intelligence sharing on real time basis would be created through a net-centric command structure.
On the economic front, the government’s immediate focus would be on sectors that are adversely hit, especially small and medium enterprises, exports, textiles, commercial vehicles, infrastructure and housing.
“This must be accompanied by measures to achieve a counter-cyclical expansion in public investment and in infrastructure sectors.”
–Indo- Asian News Service
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