New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday urged all MPs to consider the government’s ‘one nation, one election’ concept and emphasized the need to ensure stringent punishment for crimes against women as part of efforts to build a secure nation.
Addressing a joint session of both Houses of Parliament, the President also focussed on the new Modi government’s ‘zero tolerance’ for corruption.
“During the last few decades, due to frequent elections being held in some part of the country or the other, the pace and continuity of development programmes have been impacted,” he said.
“Our countrymen have demonstrated their wisdom by delivering a clear verdict… ‘One nation – simultaneous elections’ is the need of the hour, which would facilitate accelerated development, thereby benefitting our countrymen.
“With such a system in place, all political parties, will be able to better utilise their energy towards development and public welfare. Therefore, I urge all MPs to seriously ponder over this development-oriented proposal of ‘one nation – simultaneous elections’.”
Kovind’s appeal came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an all-party meeting to consider the ‘one nation, one election’ proposal.
In his first address after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha, Kovind urged the government to ensure stringent punishment for crimes against women and said the government’s main objective was to build a secure nation.
“Penalties for crimes against women have been made harsher and the new penal provisions are being strictly enforced.”
He said that in addition priority would be given to enterprises where women’s participation in the workforce was more than the prescribed limit.
“To secure equal rights for every sister and daughter in the country, eradication of social evils like ‘Triple Talaq’ and ‘Nikah-Halala’ is imperative.”
He expressed happiness over the election of 78 women MPs — the highest number in the Lok Sabha — saying it “presents the picture of a new India”.
Kovind mentioned various steps taken by the Modi government within 21 days of its formation in favour of farmers, small shopkeepers and children of soldiers.
Noting that the water crisis was one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century, he said: “The creation of the new Ministry of Jalshakti is a decisive step in this direction, which will have far-reaching benefits.”
The President also spoke about strengthening the system and spirit of co-operative federalism.
Largescale investments had been made to strengthen rural India, and an investment of Rs 25 lakh crore would be made in the coming years in order to enhance agriculture productivity, he said.
“Our goal is to establish 50,000 start-ups in the country by 2024.”
He mentioned about the “zero tolerance policy” of the government against corruption, saying: “The mission to eliminate corruption from public life and government services will be implemented with greater zeal.”
Towards this objective, “minimum government – maximum governance will be further emphasised”, he said.
“In addition, use of technology will be maximised to reduce Human Interface. Appointment of Lokpal will also promote transparency. The campaign against black money will be taken forward at a faster pace.
“During the last two years, 4 lakh 25 thousand Company Directors have been disqualified and the registration of 3.50 lakh suspicious companies has been revoked.
“The Fugitive and Economic Offenders Act has proved effective in controlling fugitive economic offenders. Now we are receiving information from 146 countries including Switzerland.
“We are now receiving information about all those who have stashed black money abroad.”
The impact of Real Estate Regulation Act or RERA was clearly visible in curbing black money transactions in real estate sector and protecting the interests of the customers and providing huge relief to the middle class families, Kovind said.