Asserting that the 2014-29 period between the 16th to 18th Lok Sabha is "very important" for a young democracy like India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the last six years have been "historic" for the country's development and a lot remains to be done in the remaining period.
As the age of 16, 17 and 18 years is very important for the youth, so is the time between the 16th and the 18th Lok Sabha for a young nation like India, he said while digitally inaugurating 76 multi-storeyed flats in the national capital for Members of Parliament.
The 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19) has been historic for the country's progress, and the 17th Lok Sabha has already become a part of history due to a number of decisions it has taken, he said, referring to the passage of landmark legislations aimed at reforming farm and labour sectors besides abrogation of Article 370 and the citizenship law.
"I am confident the next Lok Sabha (2024-29) will also play a very important role in taking the country ahead in this new decade... There is so much for the country that we have to achieve. Be it 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' campaign, or economic targets or many other pledges like these, we have to achieve them during this period," he said to an audience of parliamentarians, including ministers and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
People of Jammu and Kashmir have also joined the mainstream of development, with many new laws coming into effect in the union territory for the first time, he said in a reference to the abrogation of Article 370, which had granted the erstwhile state a special status.
"It is our responsibility that when history evaluates different terms of Lok Sabha, this period is remembered as a golden chapter in the nation's development," Modi stated.
The second term of the Modi government is scheduled to end in 2024 when the next general election will be held.
The ruling BJP has already set its sight on the next Lok Sabha polls with its president J P Nadda set to undertake a 120-day nationwide tour to tone up the saffron party's organisational machinery with a focus on regions and seats where it had not done well in 2019.
In his speech, Modi referred to the GST rollout, enactment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and a law proposing death sentence for those convicted of raping children as among the major achievements of his government's first term between 2014-19.
India now has resources and a strong resolve to fulfil the dreams of its 130 crore citizens and attain the goal of self-reliance, he said.
Asserting that the country's "new mindset and mood" is reflected in the composition of the 16th Lok Sabha, which had over 300 first-time MPs, and the current lower house, which has 260 MPs elected for the first time, the prime minister noted it has over 400 parliamentarians who are in their first or second terms.
The current Lok Sabha also has a record number of woman MPs, he said.
This is a reason why Parliament has been taking decisions quickly while also having more debate, he added, observing that the 16th Lok Sabha passed 15 per cent more bills and while the productivity of the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha was 135 per cent. Rajya Sabha's productivity was also 100 per cent, he added.
Parliament's performance is at its best in two decades, Modi said.
MPs have focussed on "product and process" as well be passing more bills and also debating more, he added, noting that they engaged in two-three hours of debates in passing more than 60 per cent of bills in the last Lok Sabha.
On this occasion, he also greeted Birla on his 58th birthday and lauded him for his focus on quality while also saving time in running the House.
This was also reflected in the building of these 76 flats for the MPs, the prime minister said, noting that the three residential towers have adhered to green technology.
The government said the construction of the flats has cost 14 per cent less than the projected expenditure and it was completed well in time despite the adverse circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These towers, which have come in place of eight 80-year-old bungalows, have been named after rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.
Modi said the new flats for parliamentarians, who often had to wait long for getting a house in the national capital, is among the series of projects completed under his government after being kept pending for years and decades.
He referred to the completion of the Ambedkar International Centre, Central Information Commission building and War Memorial in this regard.
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