India Insight

Highlights – President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to parliament

The new government will pursue an economic reform agenda that foresees introducing the goods and services tax, encouraging foreign investment and speeding approvals for major business projects, President Pranab Mukherjee said in a parliamentary address on Monday.

Mukherjee also said the focus of the Modi government would be to:

- contain food inflation

- improve supply side of agro-based products

- prepare contingency plans for sub-normal monsoons

- increase public and private investments in agriculture

- address issues in farm pricing and procurement

- set up IITs and IIMs in every state

- have zero tolerance against violence against women and will strengthen criminal justice system

- tackle illegal immigration and infiltration in the north east region

- roll out broadband highways in every village in next five years

- vigorously follow up issue of black money with foreign governments

- focus on social media as a tool for participative governance

- provide predictable, fair and stable policy environment

- make every effort to introduce goods and services tax

- encourage investment through foreign direct investment

- promote labour-intensive manufacturing, tourism for job creation

- move towards a single-window system of clearances to promote manufacturing

- fast-track investment friendly public, private partnership

- liberalise foreign direct investments in defence

- encourage private investments in defence production

- implement reforms in defence procurement

- take up modernisation and revamp of railways on priority

- chalk out infrastructure development programmes for high-speed rails, roads and airports

- launch comprehensive national energy policy and focus on increasing electricity generation

- urgently pursue reforms in coal to attract private investments

- operationalise international civilian nuclear pacts

- ensure every family has good house by 2022

- ensure 24×7 electricity supply by 2022

- follow zero tolerance towards extremism, terrorism and communal violence

- formulate clear rules for allocation of coal, minerals and telecoms spectrum

- work towards putting economy on high growth path

- engage energetically with neighbours, including China

- bring renewed vigour in its engagement with the United States

Read text of president’s speech

(Compiled by Ankush Arora)

Who wants to be India’s next president?


It’s probably easier for actor Amitabh Bachchan to become India’s president than your average politician.

The ruling Congress party coalition looks like it will at best limp its way to general elections in 2014, stung by a rash of corruption scandals that have tarnished Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second term in office and led to a dismal performance in state assembly elections earlier this year.

Now the political establishment is abuzz about who will be the next president, a largely ceremonial post that comes open in July.

  •