Modi team hailed for curbing corruption, pro-poor policies

Addressing the joint session of Indian Parliament on the opening day of the budget session, President Ram Nath Kovind, above, lauded the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government’s success in striking at the root of corruption.

Kovind’s comment came hours after India got two suspects, Rajeev Saxena and Deepak Talwar linked to major corruption scandals, extradited from Dubai.

After declaring the war against corruption and money laundering, the federal government followed it up by setting up a Special Investigative Team to track down the suspects. Deals were signed with the so-called ‘tax haven’ countries to cooperate with India in identifying money launderers and curbing their activity, the president said.

He also hailed the federal move in 2016 to ban Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes that forced cash hoarders to deposit their money in banks after giving officials information on their sources of income.

The goods and services tax (GST) introduced by the Modi government will take time to prove its results. It has come as a boon for the business sector, he said.

Kovind hailed the government’s vision to build a New India. Its health, insurance, educational and housing schemes are reaching the poorest of the poor and empowering them.

Lack of toilets had forced millions of people living in rural areas to lead an undignified and unhealthy life. Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Clean India Mission, more than 90 million toilets have been constructed for them.

Because of toilets, millions of rural poor have been spared of various diseases and more than 300,000 lives have been saved, the president said.

Women used to suffer from various illnesses because of smoke-filled kitchens. Much of their efforts and time were spent in collecting firewood.

The Modi government provided more than 60 million cooking gas connections to such women under the Ujjwala Yojana.

The president said the government is aiming to build a New India where every citizen is assured basic amenities, health, security, education, justice, dignity and equal opportunities.