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Budget session: Highlights of President Pratibha Patil's speech
March, 12th 2012

Stating that the UPA was committed to honest and efficient governance, President Pratibha Patil on Monday said India would soon be back on the high growth path of 8-9% from the 7% estimated for the current fiscal. Addressing the joint session of parliament on the first day of the budget

session, the president said the current year had been a difficult year for global economy.
Below are the highlights of President's speech to the joint session of parliament on the opening day of the budget session;

* Government confident of steering the country back to 8-9% GDP growth trajectory.

* Steps taken to contain the generation and outflow of illicit funds from the country, including new income tax overseas units, signing of new DTAAs and tax information exchange agreements.

* Agricultural sector grew at 6.6% during 2010-11, the highest in recent times.

* National Food Sercurity Bill introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session.

* Slew of anti-corruption measures introduced by the government include the Lokpal bill, whisteblowers protection bill, citizens right to grievance redress bill and judicial accountability bill.

* National vocational education qualification framework being developed to set common principles and guidelines.

* Government aims to provide skill training to 8.5 million people during 2012-13 and 80 million people during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17). It will set up 1,500 new Industrial Training Institutes and 5,000 Skill Development Centres in the public-private- partnership mode.

* National Commission for Higher Education and Research to be constituted.

* National Mission for Teachers to be constituted to improve teacher's education and faculty development.

* Major amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition || chr(38) || Regulation) Act to prohibit employment of children under 14 years of age.

* Plan and non-plan public expenditure at the centre and in the states to be increased to 2.5 percent of the GDP by the end of the 12th Plan to attain the goal of universal healthcare. Universal access to free generic essential medicines in public health institutions in a phased manner. The National Rural Health Mission will be converted into a National Health Mission.

* New bill for eliminating manual scavenging and insanitary latrines.

* Separate Department of Disability Affairs to be created. Government is also considering new legislation for the disabled to replace the existing act.

* Government will set up a National Council for Senior Citizens as a broad-based participatory forum.

* Early enactment of the land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement bill.

* Launch the National Urban Livelihood Mission.

* Bill to provide for a uniform regulatory environment to protect consumer interests, help speedy adjudication and ensure orderly growth of the real estate sector.

* Emphasis on automated delivey of public services.

* National Board of Electric Mobility and National Council of Electric Mobility formed to promote electric automobiles.

* National Investment and Manufacturing Zones to be established.

* National optical fibre network to be created at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore.

* National Programme for the Urban Homeless to be formed.

* Civil Aviation Authority to be created to ensure safe, secure and affordable air services. An independent Air Accident Investigation Bureau to be constituted. Air traffic management services and airports will be upgraded and modernized.

* Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council being set up as a not-for-profit entity to facilitate the growth of the biotech industry.

* Medical institute and super-speciality hospital to be set up as a mega healthcare infrastructure project for the central paramilitary forces.

* India's first microwave remote sensing satellite, first navigational satellite and next flight of GSLV using indigenous cryogenic upper stage planned for 2012.

* Eighteen terrorist modules neutralised in 2011. NCTC to improve India's capability to counter internal security threats.

* Installed capactity of nuclear plants expected to rise to 10,080 MW by the end of the 12th Plan.

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