In his first speech to Parliament after being sworn in as the 13th President of India, Pranab Mukherjee chose to pay special attention to the eradication of poverty in India, saying that a famine that ravaged Bengal when he was a young boy “haunted him to this day “.
“For our development to be real, the poorest of our land must feel they are part of the narrative of rising India. Trickle down theories do not address legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must erase poverty from the dictionary of modern India”, he said.
The focus on poverty and the failure of trickle down effects is bDidneing read by media analysts as a form of justification for the policies Mukherjee enacted during his stint as the Finance Minister of India, which have come under sustained attack.
Mukherjee’s decisions have been widely blamed for the state of the flagging Indian economy, and some of his policies including the retrospective Vodafone legislation, and the General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) have riled investors.
Meanwhile apart from poverty, the speech spoke about the valour of the Indian armed forces and the federal unity of India.
The new President also chose to focus on corruption, saying, “Corruption is an evil that can suppress the nations mood and hinder progress. Progress cannot be hampered by greed of a future”. A significant reference, especially given the fact that Team Anna is taking out a fast against corruption in the national capital.
Team Anna has also vowed to prove allegations they made against Mukherjee, pointing to discrepancies during his time as a Minister.