New Delhi: President of India Prannab Mukherjee today addressing both Houses of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session commemorated the memory of the leading founders of the erstwhile Jan Sangh Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and recalling his philosophy of Ekatma Manavata (single spirit of humanity), said it envisages Antyodaya, where the empowering rays of opportunity reach the last person.
This principle Antyodaya guides all the programmes of the NDA Government at the Centre, the President said adding that the central government, in particular, is focused on “Garibon ki Unnati” (Poverty Eradication), “Kisaano ki Samriddhi” (Farmers’ Prosperity) and “Yuvaon ko Rojgaar” (Massive Employment Generation).
Also quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Mukherjee said: “Poverty is the worst form of violence” (unquote). The essence of progress lies in bringing a sense of fulfillment to the poor and the deprived, the marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society. The poorest of the poor are entitled to the first charge on the nation’s resources. Removing the scourge of poverty and destitution is our most sacred moral responsibility.
Last year, I had spoken of the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna,the President sais adding today I am proud to say that it is the world’s most successful financial inclusion programme. Under the programme, out of over twenty one crore accounts opened, fifteen crore accounts are operational with an aggregate deposit of over Rupees thirty two thousand crore. The programme has gone beyond mere opening of bank accounts, to becoming a platform for poverty eradication, by offering basic financial services and security to the poor.
In terms of targeted subsidies the President said that Direct Benefit Transfer has so far been extended to 42 schemes funded by my Government. PAHAL has become the largest direct cash transfer program of its kind in the world, with nearly 15 crore beneficiaries. Since June 2014, the food security coverage has more than doubled to cover over 68 crore persons.
Social justice with inclusion is the first promise of our Constitution and the poor and the backward are the focus of my Government, Mukherjee said as he pointed out that the Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been further strengthened by suitable amendments. The 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is being celebrated across the country to foster the spirit of social inclusion. 26th of November, the day on which the Constitution was adopted, is now celebrated as Constitution Day to deepen Constitutional values amongst the citizens of the country. My government is working to preserve the Panchatirthas, the five sites of Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy.
The President said that eeducation empowers people and to serve this end, the Centre has allocated more than 50% of the Ministry of Minority Affairs budget to scholarship funds. Two new schemes; Nai Manzil and USTAA Daimed to empower the minorities, have been launched. Currently about 20,000 madarasa children are undergoing skill training under the Nai Manzil scheme. Everlasting Flame, an exhibition to showcase the life, history and the culture of the Parsi community is being organized next month.