Prez address most inspiring, illustrative: Naidu

Terming President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech as the “most inspiring and illustrative” in recent years, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today hit out at the opposition for not being “enthused” by the “historic” steps taken by the government, including surgical strikes.

Naidu said the opposition did not even have the heart to acclaim such historic steps taken in the national interest and asserted the President’s speech to the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament outlined the roadmap for the future, journey so far and the philosophy of the government.

“This year’s President’s address is really historic, inspiring and illustrative,” he told reporters outside Parliament.

Asserting that digitisation has increased since demonetisation, he said that as per the economic survey, demonetisation has brought down land and already declining real estate prices and once the GST is through, the tax rates and stamp duty will come down as well.

He said the direction in which the country is moving, the spirit and philosophy of the government about the uplift of the poorest of the poor, poverty alleviation, taking care of the farmer, village, youth, women and the need for taking tough actions against corruption have been elaborated in the President’s address.

“(The address also included the issue of) demonetisation and the amount of patience, perseverance and endurance ordinary people of the country have shown by standing shoulder to shoulder with Prime Minister and government, its effort to contain corruption and unearth black money, that are historic that have been highlighted,” he said.

Naidu said that the Prime Minister’s emphasis on poverty alleviation also reflected in the President’s address as he outlined 70 major initiatives of the government over the last two-and-a-half years and the details and progress made in each sector through these initiatives.

“I have seen in Parliament that members were thumping their desk for all the initiatives taken by the government except a few in opposition who could not even appreciate the reference to surgical strike, the pro-people measures where 1.20 crore LPG connections were given to the poor, these are historic not political.

“Still some of our friends in opposition are not enthused as usual. They have no heart even to acclaim such historic steps taken in national interest. The President’s address was welcomed by all. It was the most inspiring address in recent years outlining the roadmap for the future, journey so far covered and philosophy of the government,” he said.

Naidu said the President held mirror to the transformation taking place in the country — in social, cultural and economic fields.

Naidu said that the President also referred to the road ahead by flagging the need for simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and Assemblies which is of “great significance”.

“By stating that India is the lone bright spot in the global economy, the President has referred to challenge of terrorism and extremism and the need for partnership at the global level for peace and prosperity. Significant in the end, the President underscored the need for smooth functioning of Parliament,” he said.

Naidu said that the economic survey also revealed “promising” aspects of the economy and the middle class will get affordable housing due to fall in real estate prices.

“The real estate prices will come down further as per the economic survey. The early evidence suggest that digitisation has increased since demonetisation. On the cost side, effective cash in circulation fell sharply although much less than commonly believed. The peak of 35 per cent in December rather than 62 per cent in November. It is significant,” he said.

Naidu said that as the Urban Development Minister, he was confident that the housing prices will further come down making it affordable for the poor particularly with the 6.5 per cent interest subvention and also through the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister in giving four per cent in subvention for the lower-middle class and three per cent for middle class people.

“This will boost the housing sector. The demonetisation has brought down the land and real estate prices and once the GST is through, the tax rates and stamp duty will come down,” he said.