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Budget 2022 session: Key highlights of President Ram Nath Kovind's speech

President Ram Nath Kovind while lauding India’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic listed the achievements of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government across sectors including, healthcare, infrastructure, defence, farming and start up, among others

January 31, 2022 / 09:19 PM IST
President Ram Nath Kovind (File Photo)

President Ram Nath Kovind (File Photo)


The Union Budget session of Parliament began on January 31 with President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the joint sitting Parliament in the Central Hall.

The President while lauding India’s fight against COVID-19 listed the achievements of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government across sectors including, healthcare, infrastructure, defence, farming and start up, among others.

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Here is what the President said about different sectors in his address that lasted about an hour.

On Healthcare

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The President said that the proof of India's capability in the fight against COVID-19 was witnessed in the vaccination drive. He said that the Rs 64,000 crore PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission will prepare the country for a health crisis in future.

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“India’s capability to fight COVID-19 was evident in its vaccination program. In less than a year, we made a record of administering over 150 crore doses of vaccine. Today, we’re one of the leading nations in the world when it comes to the number of doses given,” Kovind said, adding that more than 70 per cent beneficiaries have been administered second dose of the vaccine.

On Pharma sector 

The President said that Indian pharma sector has also proved its mettle during the Corona period. "Presently, products of Indian pharma companies are reaching more than 180 countries. However, there is a wide range of opportunities for India in this sector.  The PLI scheme announced by my government for the pharma industry will further expand the opportunities, and will also provide impetus to research," he said.

On Welfare Schemes

The President praised the Union government for its welfare schemes. “To ensure that no one returns home hungry, my government distributed free ration to the poor every month as part of the PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojana. Today, India is running the world's largest food distribution program. Also, the Ayushman Bharat card has benefited the poor. Availability of medicines at low prices at Jan Aushadi Kendra was also a great move,” he said.

On Infra

The President also listed a series of infrastructural projects taken up by the government in the recent past. He said Delhi-Mumbai expressway will be the longest expressway and will be completed soon

“We have done significant work to provide transport facilities to the poor and middle class,” he said.

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The President also said that the government had approved 21 greenfield airports and the biggest among them would be in Greater Noida. The President also said that the services have been started on 11 new metro lines in the country, which are benefiting lakhs of people in eight states every day.

"Infrastructure is the foundation for development in any country. My government also views infrastructure as a bridge to address social inequality. Investment in infrastructure not only generates lakhs of new jobs, but also has a qualitative impact, enhancing ease of doing business, facilitating faster transport and promoting economic activities across sectors," he said.

On farm welfare

The President said the government is working continuously to empower the farmers and the rural economy of the country.  He said that India's agriculture exports had crossed beyond Rs three lakh crore.

“My government is working continuously to empower the farmers and the rural economy of the country. Despite the pandemic, our farmers produced more than 30 crore tonnes of food grains and 33 crore tonnes of horticulture produce in 2020-21. The government made record procurement to match the record production. The government procured 433 lakh metric tonnes of wheat during the Rabi season benefiting about 50 lakh farmers. A record quantity of about 900 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was procured during Kharif season, benefiting 1 crore 30 lakh farmers, he said.

On Defence

The President said that the government is working with utmost determination to ensure a safe and secure India. Due to the policies of the government in the defence sector, especially in defence production, the country is becoming increasingly self-reliant, he said.

"Of all the approvals accorded for modernization of armed forces in the year 2020-21, 87 per cent were from ‘Make in India’ category. Similarly, in 2020-21, preference was accorded to ‘Make in India’ category in 98 per cent of equipment related contracts. Our Armed forces have also issued a list of 209 military-equipment, which will not be purchased from abroad. A list of more than 2,800 defence equipment has also been issued by defence undertakings which will be manufactured domestically," he said

On National Education policy

The President hailed the Centre's New Education Policy and said that local languages are being promoted as part of NEP.

"Emphasis is being laid to conduct entrance examinations in Indian languages. 19 engineering colleges across 10 states to teach in 6 Indian languages this year,'' he said

On PLI scheme and start ups

The President said that the government has started 14 PLI schemes. He said that these PLI schemes will not only help transform India as a global manufacturing hub but also create over 60 lakh jobs.

“We have eased patent rules for startups. PLI schemes provided in the manufacturing sector. Government schemes in the manufacturing sector will create jobs. India is one of the top mobile manufacturing hubs of the world. India is a global leader in tech manufacturing,” the President said.

The President said that the  start-up industry is also an example of the infinite new possibilities that are rapidly taking shape under the leadership of our youth.

"Since 2016, sixty thousand new start-ups have been established in 56 different sectors in our country. More than six lakh jobs have been created by these start-ups. In 2021, during the Corona period, more than 40 unicorn start-ups have emerged in India, each with a minimum market valuation of Rupees 7,400 crore, he said.

On MSME

The President said that the MSME sector have been a backbone of the Indian economy, and a driver of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

"In order to protect MSMEs from crisis and ensure adequate availability of credit during the Corona period, the government started a scheme for guaranteed Collateral Free Loans of Rupees 3 lakh crore. It is evident from the recent studies that this scheme has given a fresh lease of life to 13 lakh 50 thousand MSME units and also secured 1 crore 50 lakh jobs. In June 2021, the government has enhanced credit guarantee from Rupees 3 lakh crore to Rupees 4.5 lakh crore.



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Gulam Jeelani is a journalist with over 12 years of reporting experience. Based in New Delhi, he covers politics and governance for Moneycontrol.
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