Full credit to govt for fighting inflation, reviving GDP growth: President

President Pranab Mukherjee today credited the government for its all-out efforts to fight inflation, which helped wholesale price inflation to fall to record lows and putting the economy back on the high growth trajectory.

Addressing the joint session of Parliament at the commencement of the budget session today, he said, "Inflation and food inflation, in particular, are at a record low due to a number of decisive measures taken by the government.''

Wholesale price inflation turned negative for the second time in three months helped by a major fall in petroleum fuels and food prices, hitting a low of (-) 0.39 per cent in January. The overall food inflation was at eight per cent.

With its GDP growing at 7.4 per cent, India is now the fastest growing major economy in the world. This, he said, has been made possible due to the government's sustained efforts and a series of policy initiatives.

The President said the government has been making sustained efforts to bring greater efficiency and equity into the tax system and prudence in expenditure management.

A Constitutional (Amendment) Bill has been introduced to bring in Goods and Services Tax that will simplify the indirect tax regime, broaden the tax base and result in better tax compliance, Mukherjee added.

This in turn has helped capital formation, which faced a near stagnation in last few years, he said.

Also, capital markets are upbeat and India's external sector is now far more resilient, particularly with a moderate current account deficit and broadly stable rupee, he added.

Recounting the various measures undertaken by the government over a span of nine months, he said the government has articulated and embarked on a comprehensive strategy for unleashing the full potential of our country and its precious resource of 1.25 billion people. Measures have been initiated to stir action in a range of fields from sanitation to smart cities, poverty elimination to creation of wealth, skill development to conquering space, tapping demographic dividend to diplomatic initiatives, enhancing ease of doing business to putting in place a stable policy framework, empowering individuals to ensuring quality infrastructure, ending financial untouchability to making the country a manufacturing hub, containing inflation to stimulating economy, igniting minds to ensuring inclusive growth, promoting cooperative federalism to encouraging a competitive spirit among the states,  he said.

''A strong beginning has been made. A promising future awaits us,'' he asserted.

He said poverty is a bane to dignified human existence. Development is actualised only when the last person gets a sense of fulfillment, especially, regarding his minimum needs.

''Financial inclusion is critical to poverty elimination,'' he said, adding that the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana will help provide universal access to banking facilities - a bank account, having in-built accidental insurance with a Rupay debit card to all underprivileged.

He noted that the coverage under the scheme is close to 100 per cent with a record 132 million new bank accounts being opened, 115 million Rupay debit cards being issued and over Rs11,000 crore being deposited in various banks across the country.

''This unprecedented target was achieved in less than six months, making it the largest such programme globally,'' the President noted.

He said the Direct Cash Transfer programme, the biggest in the world, will ensure that the benefits of 35 developmental programmes reach the last intended beneficiary without leakages and impediments. The scheme has so far covered 75 per cent of the LPG user-households. Special emphasis is attached to make Aadhar enrolment coverage universal, he added.

''Swachhata (cleanliness) is an article of faith for my government and it will have an overarching impact on the overall quality of life and well-being of a person, particularly the poor, he noted.

''Swachhata has a cascading impact on national development and the potential to generate wealth from waste. Sanitation and the idea of Swachhata require changing the mindset of the people," he added.

The president exhorted the people to be active participants in this mission. He also appealed members of Parliament to spend at least 50 per cent of their MPLADS funds on Swachh Bharat Mission.