President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The triple talaq bill is aimed at liberating Muslim women from a “life of fear”, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday.

Addressing a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament at the beginning of the Budget session, he said the government is “striving hard” to get the bill passed by Parliament.

“With a view to liberating our Muslim daughters from a life of fear and anxiety and to provide them with equal right to lead their lives at par with other daughters, my government is striving hard to get the triple talaq bill passed by Parliament,” he said.

He said the 2016 demonetisation was “an important step” in tackling black money and corruption in the country.

“Demonetisation was an important step in the campaign by the government against black money and corruption. It led to an attack on the parallel economy and it brought unaccounted cash back to the system. It eliminated the forces that were weakening the country, he said.

“My government has taken strong measures against black money,” he said. Agreements have been signed with countries considered as tax havens. As many as 3.38 lakh shell companies have been shut,” he added.

The President said the government had seized properties worth over Rs50,000 crore under Benami Transactions Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act and other laws to deal with fugitive economic offenders.

Speaking about the farmers’ problems, the president said the Centre was working for sustainable solutions to the issues faced by farmers and has taken some recommendable steps to improve their conditions.

“My government is working day and night to improve the condition of the farmers. It is also working to improve the income of the farmers. The government strives for a sustainable solution to their problems and to understand their every need,” he said adding the government has increased the minimum support price of 22 crops by 1.5 times.

“In addition, the availability of seeds of good quality is also ensured for the farmers.

“The farmers work throughout the year to give a record crop output. Many members sitting here are aware of the hardships faced by the fares and village life very well. The farmers are not only the backbone of our economy but are the protectors of our culture,” Kovind said.

The Centre, he said, has ensured to provide help to the farmers in all possible ways, be it seeds, urea, water supply, scientific methods or soil health.

“The government has also provided new markets to the farmers. The number of scientific agricultural centres have also increased.”

The Centre is also ensuring insurance of the scheme, in case of any disaster or crop failure, the President added.

He further said India was going through “uncertain times” ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the Narendra Modi government after assuming power resolved to work towards a ‘New India’, giving hope to the people.

The government has been working to fulfil hopes and aspirations of all sections of people, he said.

“The country was going through times of uncertainty before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and after the polls my government resolved to make a New India,” the president said.

Highlighting the governments achievements and various welfare schemes, Kovind said 21 crore poor people were covered under the PM’s life insurance scheme, while over 2 crore households got power connection as part of the PM’s Saubhagya scheme.

“Under Swachh Bharat initiative, the government has built nine crore toilets,” he said.

The president also described 2019 as a significant year for democracy as the country is observing the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Be it cities or villages, the government has worked towards strengthening the health care infrastructure, he said.