President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday addressed the joint session of both the Houses of the Parliament at the Central Hall.

In his opening address, President Kovind said the public has given a clear mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“In the last 5 years, citizens were convinced the government is for them,” he said.

“In this Lok Sabha elections, more than 61 crore citizens cast their vote and set a new record. The people of India gave a clear mandate,” he further said.

The government is working for ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, the President stressed.

President Kovind also spoke on the major issues faced by the nation among which are water crisis, and farmer issues.

“One of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is water crisis. Climate change and global warming will lead to worsening of this problem. We have to conserve water for our future generations. In this direction, the creation of Jal Shakti Ministry is a decisive step,” he said.

Delivering his first election promise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had constituted a Ministry for “Jal Shakti” and appointed Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as its Minister.

The Ministry will replace the previous Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry. It would ensure optimal utilisation of water.

On extending benefits to farmers, the President said the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme will be extended to every farmer in the country.

He further said the scholarship amount for children of martyred soldiers from the National Defence Fund has been hiked. For the first time, children of slain state police personnel have been included in the scheme.

The President said the Government was working at a fast pace to ensure that banking services are available in villages and the northeast.

He further said, “his government was moving ahead to create strong, secure and an inclusive India”.

Addressing the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the President said work was underway on a large scale to develop the 112 ‘aspirational districts’ of the country.

The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ Programme aims to expeditiously improve the socio-economic status of districts from across states.

He further said his government was providing residential, health facilities to the poor as poverty can be removed only by empowering them.

On the country’s development, Kovind said today, India is among those nations in the world that have the most number of start-ups.

Further speaking on social issues, President Kovind called for the removal of practices like ‘Triple Talaq’ and Nikah-Halala’ to ensure equal rights for women.

He also urged the government to ensure stringent punishment for crimes against women and said the new Modi government’s main objective was to build a secure nation.

Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind congratulated Om Birla on his election as the Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha.

The Parliament session will continue till July 26. The Economic Survey will be presented on July 4 followed by the Union Budget for 2019- 20 on July 5.