Article 87

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Article 87 in The Constitution Of India 1949

Special address by the President

(1) At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons

(2) Provision shall be made by rules regulating the procedure of either House for the allotment of time for discussion of the matters referred to in such address [1]

President of India

The President of India, IAST: Bhārat kē Rāṣhṭrapati) is the ceremonial head of state of India and the commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces.

The president is indirectly elected by an electoral college comprising the Parliament of India (both houses) and the legislative assemblies of each of India's states and territories, who themselves are all directly elected. Although the Article 53 of the Constitution of India states that the president can exercise his powers directly or by subordinate authority, with few exceptions, all of the executive powers vested in the president are, in practice, exercised by the prime minister (a subordinate authority) with the help of the Council of Ministers.[2] The president is bound by the constitution to act on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet as long as the advice is not violating the constitution.

Legislative powers

Legislative power is constitutionally vested by the Parliament of India of which the president is the head, to facilitate the lawmaking process per the constitution (Article 78, Article 86, etc.). The president summons both the houses (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) of the parliament and prorogues them. He can dissolve the Lok Sabha. The president inaugurates parliament by addressing it after the general elections and also at the beginning of the first session every year per Article 87(1). The presidential address on these occasions is generally meant to outline the new policies of the government.

All bills passed by the parliament can become laws only after receiving the assent of the president per Article 111. After a bill is presented to him, the president shall declare either that he assents to the Bill, or that he withholds his assent from it. As a third option, he can return a bill to parliament, if it is not a money bill, for reconsideration. President may be of the view that a particular bill passed under the legislative powers of parliament is violating the constitution, he can send back the bill with his recommendation to pass the bill under the constituent powers of parliament following the Article 368 procedure. When, after reconsideration, the bill is passed accordingly and presented to the president, with or without amendments, the president cannot withhold his assent from it. The president can also withhold his assent to a bill when it is initially presented to him (rather than return it to parliament) thereby exercising a pocket veto on the advice of prime minister or council of ministers per Article 74 if it is inconsistent to the constitution. Article 143 gave power to the president to consult the supreme court about the constitutional validity of an issue. The president shall assent to constitutional amendment bills without power to withhold the bills per Article 368 (2).

When either of the two Houses of the Parliament of India is not in session, and if the government feels the need for an immediate procedure, the president can promulgate ordinances which have the same force and effect as an act passed by parliament under its legislative powers. These are in the nature of interim or temporary legislation and their continuance is subject to parliamentary approval. Ordinances remain valid for no more than six weeks from the date the parliament is convened unless approved by it earlier. Under Article 123, the president as the upholder of the constitution shall be satisfied that immediate action is mandatory as advised by the union cabinet and he is confident that the government commands majority support in the parliament needed for the passing of the ordinance into an act and parliament can be summoned to deliberate on the passing of the ordinance as soon as possible. The promulgated ordinance is treated as an act of parliament when in force and it is the responsibility of the president to withdraw the ordinance as soon as the reasons for promulgation of the ordinance are no longer applicable. Bringing laws in the form of ordinances has become a routine matter by the government and president, but the provisions made in Article 123 are meant for mitigating unusual circumstances where immediate action is inevitable when the extant provisions of the law are inadequate. Re-promulgation of an ordinance after failing to get approval within the stipulated time of both houses of parliament is an unconstitutional act by the president. The president should not incorporate any matter in an ordinance which violates the constitution or requires an amendment to the constitution. The president should take moral responsibility when an ordinance elapses automatically or is not approved by the parliament or violates the constitution. [2]

President Address

All executive power is vested in the President of India. The Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister aids and advises the President who exercises his powers in accordance to such advice. Article 87 of the constitution provides two instances when the President specially addresses both Houses of Parliament. The President of India addresses both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha at the beginning of the first Session after each general election when the reconstituted lower house meets for the first time. The President also addresses both the houses at beginning of the first session of each year. The President’s speech essentially highlights the government’s policy priorities and plans for the upcoming year. The address provides a broad framework of the government’s agenda and direction. [3]

Highlights of the President’s Address 2020:

The President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, addressed a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on January 31, 2020. He outlined the major policy achievements and objectives of the government in his address.

Key highlights of the address include:

Economy

The government is dedicated to make India a five trillion-dollar economy. Foreign exchange reserves are over USD 450 billion. From April to October, 2019, inflow of Foreign Direct Investment increased by three billion USD. India’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index has improved from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2020. Reduction of corporate tax and the codification of labour laws will further improve the ease of doing business.

Finance and Banking

Due to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, nearly Rs 3.5 lakh crore has been recovered by banks and other institutions. Merging the small public sector banks has strengthened them and improved their lending capacity. In the first half of 2019-20, 12 public sector banks have reported profits. Under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme, funds from more than 450 schemes are being directly credited into the accounts of beneficiaries. Since 2014, more than nine lakh crore rupees has been transferred through DBT. Further, DBT has prevented leakages worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore. More than 121 crore people in the country have Aadhaar cards and about 60 crore people have RuPay cards. Bank accounts have been created for 38 crore poor people. Parliament passed the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019 for protecting the savings of the poor, and the Chit Funds Amendment Act, 2019 for protecting the poor from fraudulent chit fund schemes.

Internal Affairs and Defence

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was passed by Parliament to grant citizenship to certain immigrants. Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution, relating to the special status for Jammu and Kashmir, were repealed. Appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff and creation of the Department of Military Affairs will improve coordination among the three services and expedite their modernisation. There has been a decrease in terrorist activities in Jammu-Kashmir. The geographical spread of Naxalism is steadily shrinking.

Agriculture

Under the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi, more than Rs 43,000 crore has been deposited in the bank accounts of more than eight crore farmer families. Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, more than 5.5 crore farmers are availing crop insurance cover at a very low premium. In the last three years claims worth Rs 57,000 crore have been settled under the scheme. There has been a steady increase in MSP for Kharif and Rabi crops. Further, the procurement of pulses and oilseeds has increased by more than 20 times. Department of Fisheries has been created to achieve doubling the fishermen’s income and fish production.

Manufacturing and Job Creation

The value of electronic equipment manufactured in the country has increased from Rs 1.9 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs 4.6 lakh crore in 2018-19. India has the world’s third largest start-up ecosystem. 27,000 new start-ups have been recognised under the Startup India Campaign. More than 5.5 crore new entrepreneurs have availed loans under the Mudra scheme. Credit of more of Rs 10 lakh crore has been sanctioned under the scheme. Common Service Centres in rural areas have increased from 60,000 in 2014 to 3.65 lakh in 2019. This has provided employment to more than 12 lakh villagers.

Urban and Rural Development

Government will spend Rs 25 lakh crore in the coming years to strengthen the rural economy. The 112 aspirational districts have seen improvement in several development indicators and have come closer to their state averages. The government is providing a Rs 25,000 crore fund for completion of stalled housing projects. Housing has been provided to two crore poor people.

Transport

In the next five years, Rs 100 lakh crore will be invested in transport infrastructure. Under the third phase of the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana, 1,25,000 km of roads will be constructed and upgraded. Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019, which aims to reduce road accidents, was passed. Metro facility has been extended to 18 cities in the country and 670 km of metro lines have been operationalised.

Energy

Liquid Petroleum Gas coverage in the country has increased from 55% to about 97%. Free gas connections have been provided to eight crore poor people and free electricity connections have been provided to over 2.5 crore people. The target for producing renewable energy has been increased to 450 gigawatts.

Education

More than Rs 37,000 crore has been sanctioned through the Higher Education Funding Agency for the modernisation of 75 educational institutions. Government has initiated action for appointment of 7,000 teachers in Kendriya Vidyalayas and 12,000 teachers in higher education institutions.

Health

75 lakh poor have availed free treatment under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Under Aayushman Bharat scheme, more than 27,000 Health and Wellness Centres have been set up. Capping of prices of more than 1,000 essential medicines has resulted in a saving of Rs 12,500 crore for the patients. Free treatment facility of up to five lakh rupees has been provided to 50 crore people and insurance cover has been provided to 24 crore people. 75 new medical colleges have been sanctioned in 2019, which will result in an increase in MBBS seats by about 16,000 and postgraduation seats by more than 4,000.

Women and Child Development

Over 6.6 crore women have joined self-help groups. These women are being provided loans at low interest rates. Various steps have been taken to enhance women safety such as setting up of more than 600 one stop centres, 1,000 fast track special courts, and women help desks in every police station. Under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, about Rs 5,000 crore has been transferred directly to the bank accounts of 1.2 crore women. A law against Triple Talaq safeguarding the rights of Muslim women, and a law enhancing punishment for sexual offences against children, were passed.

Minority and Tribal Affairs

Reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has been extended for ten years in Lok Sabha and state assemblies. There is increased reservation and legal empowerment for divyangjan In the last five years, aids amounting to more than Rs 900 crore were distributed to them. The government has extended the MSP benefit to forest produce for tribal development. It has launched a programme for opening more than 400 Eklavya model residential schools in the country.

Water and Environment

To ensure the availability of sufficient potable drinking water to each rural household in the country, the government has launched the Jal Jeevan Mission. Rs 3,60,000 crore will be spent on this scheme. Under Namami Gange mission, projects worth Rs 7,24,000 crore have been completed. To address the challenges posed by air pollution, the National Clean Air Programme is being implemented in 102 cities. From 2015, forest and tree cover has increased by more by 13,000 square km.

Space Exploration and Technology

The government has approved Chandrayaan-3. ISRO is working on a manned spacecraft programme – Gaganyaan, and Aditya-1 Mission. With the increasing use of digital technology, to protect data privacy, the government has introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in Parliament.

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