President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday urged parliamentarians to ensure early passage of pending key bills aimed at ushering in reforms and taking the country on the path of growth.
Though Mukherjee did not refer to the stuck Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill the allusion to the important legislation was clear as he had been impressing upon both the government and the Opposition in recent meetings to arrive at a consensus.
The GST Bill has been pending in Parliament because government and the Congress have so far failed to reach an agreement on three key issues — fixing a cap on the quantum of tax, levy of one per cent additional tax to benefit manufacturing states and a dispute redressal mechanism. Mukherjee was addressing the nation on the eve of the Republic Day.
In his speech, Mukherjee reminded the lawmakers of their “bounden duty” and urged them to ensure enactment of all “progressive” legislation after due discussion and debate, saying delays in decision-making and implementation would “only harm the process of development.”
He noted that India was today a “rising power” and a country whose economic success was the “envy of the world” despite 2015 remaining a “year of challenge”. He, however, stressed on the need to “revitalise the forces of growth” with reforms and “progressive” legislation.
“A spirit of accommodation, cooperation and consensus-building should be the preferred mode of decision-making. This year, with an estimated growth rate of 7.3 per cent, India is poised to become the fastest growing large economy,” he said.
In his address, the President also gave a call for guarding against the forces of “violence, intolerance and unreason.”
“Reverence for the past was one of the essential ingredients of nationalism. Our finest inheritance, the institutions of democracy, ensure to all citizens justice, equality and gender and economic equity. When grim instances of violence hit at these established values which are at the core of our nationhood, it is time to take note,” he said.
The President called for “applauding” the achievements that India’s democracy has achieved with investments in various sectors, including infrastructure, manufacturing, health and education.
“There will be, amongst us, occasional doubters and baiters. Let us continue to complain; to demand; to rebel. This too is a virtue of democracy. But let us also applaud what our democracy has achieved,” he said.