Overriding goal of government is removal of poverty: Mukherjee

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The overriding goal of the government is poverty eradication and the poorest of the poor have the first claim on the nation’s resources, President Pranab Mukherjee told the joint sitting of the two houses of parliament on Tuesday.

The essence of progress lies in bringing a sense of fulfilment to the poor, deprived, marginalised and vulnerable sections of the society, he said in his address that marks the start of the budget session of parliament.

The president said “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas” (Taking along everyone, progress of everyone) was the fundamental tenet of the government.

“The overriding goal for my government is poverty eradication. 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,” he said.

Financial inclusion and social security were the key instruments to reduce poverty, said Mukherjee.

“To this end, my government has placed great emphasis on food security, housing for all and subsidies that reach those who need them the most, when they need them the most,” he said.

Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojna was the world’s most successful financial inclusion programme and of the over 21 crore bank accounts opened, 15 crore were operational with an aggregate deposit of over Rs.50,000 crore, Mukherjee said.

The programme, he said, 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.

He said new insurance and pension schemes – Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana – allow insurance cover to uncovered sections of society.

The president hoped that the deliberations during the budget session will live up to the trust reposed by the people.

Referring to ‘Ekatm Manav Darshan’ (the philosophy of integral humanism expounded by Deen Dayal Upadhyaya), the president said the concept of ‘Antyodaya’ (the uplift of the most downtrodden) guides all the programmes of the government.

“My government, in particular, is focused on “Garibon ki Unnati” (poverty eradication), “Kisaano ki Samriddhi” (farmers’ prosperity) and “Yuvaon ko Rojgaar” ( employment generation for youth),” the president added.

The president said that social justice with inclusion was the first promise of the Constitution and the poor and the backward were the focus of the government.

He said the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been further strengthened by suitable amendments.

He said the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (the main architect of India’s Constitution) was being celebrated across the country to foster the spirit of social inclusion and the government was working to preserve “Panchatirthas” – the five sites of Ambedkar’s legacy.

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