New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said in his address to a joint session of Parliament that the effort of the government is to increase the income of the hard working middle class, provide them investment opportunities and find a long-term solution for farmers’ problems.

Setting the tone of the budget session of Parliament that commenced on Thursday, the president said his government has been focusing on pro-people measures that make public services accessible to all and on reforming the system to ensure social and financial equity. In a more than 8,200-word speech, the president outlined the progress made in flagship programmes like access to clean cooking fuel, access to finance for small entrepreneurs and making toilets in rural areas. He also highlighted the priority his government accords to the middle class and farmers.

“By decreasing the burden of income tax and keeping the rate of inflation under control, government has created new opportunities for expanding the savings of the middle class. The effort of the government is to increase the income of the hard working middle class and provide avenues for investment to further augment their incomes," said the president.

The president said the government is striving to attain the goal of doubling farmers’ income. “Understanding the needs of farmers, the government is seeking to find permanent solutions to their problems," said Kovind. He added that the effort is to provide better assistance for everything from purchase of equipment and seeds to farming, transportation of produce and its sale.

Union finance minister Piyush Goyal will present the interim budget on Friday. Expectations are high about measures that could address farm distress. Expectations about announcements appealing to the tax-paying middle class are also high ahead of national polls due by April-May.