New Delhi: Narendra Modi, delivering the first parliamentary speech of his second term as Prime Minister, on Tuesday pledged to continue working for financially and socially weaker sections, saying his government “did not divert" from the development path.
Outlining the focus of the second term of the government, Modi listed innovation in agriculture and provision of drinking water to all homes as key priorities, along with combating terrorism and fighting corruption.
Days ahead of the first Union budget of this government, Modi also reiterated his resolve to see India scaled up to a $5 trillion economy.
“We did not divert from our development path, we did not dilute our development agenda. It is important that the country progresses, every Indian is empowered, and our nation has modern infrastructure. We believe in public welfare and modern infrastructure," Modi said in the Lok Sabha in his motion of thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind’s address.
In his speech, Modi launched a scathing attack on the Congress party on issues of governance and dynastic rule, saying no one outside the Gandhi family has ever been promoted or given positions of power.
“Today is 25 June when the Emergency was imposed. There was an attempt to crush democracy and media, and an entire country was converted into a jail. It was disrespect towards judiciary. We cannot forget how the Constitution was crushed. We have to remind people so that no one dares to take that step again. Then, people voted for democracy, and this time, too, people have risen above caste, religion and community to vote for development," Modi told the house.
In the recently concluded general elections, the National Democratic Alliance stormed back to power under Modi’s leadership with a greater majority. This is also the first time a Bharatiya Janata Party government which has served a full five-year term has managed a consecutive term. The election also handed the Congress party its second worst defeat in history, denying it the position of the leader of opposition in the lower house once again.
Modi said the people of the country had understood the intention of the Union government in providing cooking gas under Ujjwala, toilets under Swachh Bharat and electricity under Saubhagya schemes. Now, he said, the government had embarked on overcoming an even greater challenge—that of providing drinking water to all homes and irrigation to every farm.
“I cannot dream about small things because I have the responsibility of fulfilling the dreams of 125 crore people of the country. The Union government has taken this initiative to provide drinking water to every home in the country and we have created Jal Shakti ministry. We may not be able to achieve everything but someone has to make this beginning, someone has to start the process," said Modi.
He said water was also needed for the upliftment of women because it is women who suffer the most from the lack of it. “Water and toilets affect women most, every household should get water. It is a big project but we have to do it," said the Prime Minister.
He elaborated that the Union government would take steps to ensure that the corporate world also takes initiatives in the agriculture sector by help in creation of cold storages and warehouse facilities for farmers.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy and all of us have to work together for farmers. We have to increase exports in agriculture sector. It is the collective responsibility of everyone and dream to make India a $5 trillion economy," said Modi.
Taking a dig at the Congress, Modi referred to remarks made on Monday by its leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, where he had said that despite his party’s poor show, there would never be a decrease in the heights scaled by it.
“You have gone to such heights that you can no longer see the ground, you have been uprooted so much so that you have lost touch with the people. We are not in competition with you and I wish that you go to more heights in this aspect," Modi said.
Responding to Modi’s speech, Chowdhury told reporters outside Parliament: “I think we have scored a great success that at least Prime Minister who used to remain reluctant to quote any Congress leader today has been compelled to quote Nehruji at the fag end of his speech. It’s our great victory." Chaudhary was referring to a section of Modi’s speech where he quoted former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Modi is now expected to speak in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday in response to the motion of thanks in the upper house.