Parliament’s budget session kicked off on Monday morning with President Ram Nath Kovind’s usual speech to both houses.

Kovind reiterated the Narendra Modi government’s commitment to social justice.

Kovind was quoted by ANI as saying “Dr. BR Ambedkar had said that his ideal society would be one based on independence, equality and harmony. Democracy is not just a form of government; the basis of democracy is the sense of respect for people. My government regards the ideals of Babasaheb as its guiding principle.

Kovind spoke about the various welfare schemes of the Modi government as well as the ongoing fight against Covid.

Kovind said: “Many lives [were] lost due to covid. Even in such circumstances, our Center, the States, the doctors, the nurses, the scientists, our healthcare workers worked as a team… I am grateful to our healthcare and frontline workers.

Highlighting the scope of the national pandemic vaccination programme, Kovind said, “India’s ability to fight Covid-19 was evident in the vaccination programme. In less than a year, we achieved a record administration of more than 150 million doses of vaccines. Today, we are one of the world leaders in terms of administering the maximum number of doses.

Kovind referred to the free distribution of food grains. He was quoted by ANI saying, “To ensure that no one goes home hungry, my government is distributing free rations to the poor every month under Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Yojana. Today, India runs the largest food distribution program in the world; it has been extended until March 2022.”

He noted that 44 million poor people received monetary assistance during the pandemic directly through bank transfers, highlighting the success of the “JAM trinity”, of linking Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile phone number accounts.

Kovind stressed the importance of local languages. “Local languages ​​are promoted as part of the national education policy; with emphasis on organizing major Indian language entrance exams; 19 engineering colleges in 10 states will teach in 6 Indian languages ​​this year,” he said.

Modi Comments

Earlier, as he entered parliament, Modi said, “I hope all MPs, political parties will debate with an open mind to move India forward on the path of development.” Modi said: “The more fruitful we make this session, the better the rest of the year becomes a chance to take the country to economic heights.”

He noted, “In today’s global situation, there are a lot of opportunities for India. This session instills confidence in the world regarding the economic progress of the country, the immunization program, the vaccines made in India.”