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Presidential address: Modi's stamp evident on government programmes

Presidential address: Modis stamp evident on government programmes

New Delhi: The priorities of the new government spelt out in President Pranab Mukherjee's address Monday had the stamp of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has laid thrust on use of technology to bring quick results, revive Brand India and use social media for participative governance.

The address sought to build on ideas of Modi's campaign speeches and give concrete shape to many of his plans.

Modi, who scripted history by getting the BJP its first majority in Lok Sabha on the promise of good governance, sought to outline the road map of his government to achieve its goals and promises. The address said the backbone of the government's new ways of working will be "Digital India".

The president's speech reflected many of Modi's ideas and slogans: "Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat (one India, best India)", "Sabka saath, sabka vikas (cooperation of all, development of all)", "minimum government, maximum governance", "per drop - more crop", "skill, scale and speed" and "every family will have a pucca house".

But while government made several promises of launching new schemes and missions and expanding some existing ones, there were few timelines for the goals to be achieved.

With expectations high from his government, Modi has already initiated moves to speed up decision-making and make people feel that getting work out of government was getting easier and faster.

The address admitted that people had high hopes and wanted quick results in their quest for prosperity.

Modi, who has used technology in Gujarat to cut down on administrative delays, has been laying thrust on e-governance.

The president, in his address, said e-governance brings empowerment, equity and efficiency.

With Modi keen to reduce manual intervention in routine tasks of government, the address made it clear the new government will use information technology to drive "re-engineering of government processes".

It talked about Wi-Fi zones in critical public areas in five years, broadband highway in each village, making schools e-enabled and creating a knowledge society.

Modi, who was among leaders to realise the potential of social media and has one of the largest following on social media platforms, is keen the government makes full use of their potential.

Modi extensively used social media in his Lok Sabha election campaign and apparently asked his ministers to make use of social media platforms.

The president's address said social media "will be used as a tool for participative governance, directly engaging the people in policy making and administration".

Modi has been seeking to streamline government procedures but the president's address also elaborated on the government's programmes.

The address reflected many of Modi's articulated concerns - reaping India's demographic dividend by upgrading skills, water conservation and micro-irrigation, boosting manufacturing, improving urban amenities, boosting tourism, sustainable development, making agriculture remunerative, cleanliness, cleaning Ganga and realising the inherent strengths of India.

Modi had said during his election campaigns that if he and his government were given 60 months to perform, they will end "atmosphere of pessimism and take India to the road of prosperity".

The president's address sought to convey the government's resolve to achieve results.

"In 60 months from now, we should be able to say with confidence and pride that we have done it," it said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the president's address reflected the Modi-led government's goal of building a strong, self-reliant and self-confident India while "regaining its rightful place in the comity of nations through appropriate actions".

It is full of clarity and less on verbosity. The address rightly interprets the verdict of the people of the country in the elections to the Lok Sabha," Naidu said.

Congress leader Anand Sharma, however, said the president's address had many expressions that people had been listening to for the past six months.

"It is just jugglery of words. It does not have any sense of direction," Sharma said.

He also accused Modi of being in the forefront of BJP chief ministers' reservations over goods and services tax while promising its implementation now.


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