Overriding goal of government is removal of poverty: Mukherjee

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday that the overriding goal of the government was poverty eradication and the poorest of the poor have the first claim on the nation’s resources.

Addressing the joint sitting of the two houses of parliament, he said that the essence of progress lies in bringing a sense of fulfilment to the poor, deprived, marginalised and vulnerable sections of the society.

With the government having been repeatedly accused by the Congress and some other opposition parties of being against farmers, labourers and the poor, the president’s address had detailed references to its initiatives for tackling poverty and fostering inclusiveness.

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, adding that financial inclusion and social security were key instruments to reduce poverty.

“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.32,000 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 constitution’s first promise and the poor and the backward were the focus of the government.

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