President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday expressed confidence that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will immensely benefit from the revocation of provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to the state and its bifurcation into two Union Territories. Delivering his Independence Day address to the nation, Kovind also said the changes made in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh recently will enable the people to access and enjoy the same rights, same privileges and same facilities as their fellow citizens in the rest of the country.
“...I am confident that the recent changes made in Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh would be of immense benefit to those regions. They will enable the people to access and enjoy the same rights, same privileges and same facilities as their fellow citizens in the rest of the country,” Kovind said in the address on the eve of the 73rd Independence Day.
The Modi government announced on August 5 the removal of some provisions of Article 370 to take away Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and proposed bifurcation of the state into two Union territories—Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh—a far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of protracted militancy.
The measures later secured Parliament’s approval. The two UTs will come into existence on October 31.
Kovind made a reference to the changes in Jammu and Kashmir while recalling that the illustrious generation that led us to freedom did not perceive Independence only in terms of transfer of political power.
“They considered it a stepping stone in a longer and larger process of nation building and national welding. Their objective was to improve the life of each individual, each family and society as a whole.”
The President said the recent enactment of new laws and amendments to existing ones will also be beneficial to people of Jammu and Kashmir, adding the law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence will deliver justice for “our daughters”.
“These include progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to the Right to Education; accessing public information through the Right to Information; reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities; and justice for our daughters by abolishing unequal practices such as instant triple talaq,” he said.
Kovind also underlined the need for the government to build financial infrastructure in the form of a transparent, inclusive banking system, an online friendly tax system and easier access to capital for legitimate entrepreneurs.
The President observed that India has rarely been a judgemental society and rather it has had an “easy-going, live-and-let-live organising principle.”
“India’s history and destiny, India’s legacy and future, are a function of coexistence and conciliation, of reform and reconciliation—of expanding our hearts and embracing the idea of others.”
Kovind said he was confident India will never lose its capacity to listen to the “feeblest voice” and it will never lose sight of its ancient ideals and will forget neither its sense of fairness nor its sense of adventure.
Complimenting people for taking part in the 17th general elections in April-May, Kovind said every election marks a new beginning and every election is the renewal of India’s collective hope and optimism.
Referring to the recently concluded session of Parliament which recorded lengthy and productive sittings, the President said many important Bills were passed, in a spirit of cross-party cooperation and constructive debate.
“I am confident this is only an indicator of what the coming five years have in store. I also urge that this culture percolates to all our legislative assemblies,” he said.
The President also spoke about how state and society, government and citizen, must see and cooperate with each other.
Kovind said the baton building is about creating that optimal partnership between voters and their representatives, between citizens and their government, and between civil society and state.
“The state and the government have an important role, as a facilitator and an enabler. As such, it is critical for our key institutions and the policy makers to study and appreciate the message being sent by citizens and to be responsive to the thoughts and wishes of our people,” he said.
Kovind said as the President, he travelled all over the country, to diverse states and regions, and meet citizens from all walks of life.
“Indians can be very different in their tastes and habits, but Indians share the same dreams. Before 1947, the dreams were for a free India. Today, the dreams are for accelerated development; for effective and transparent governance; and yet for a smaller footprint of government in our everyday lives,” he said.
The President said fulfilling these dreams is essential and any reading of the mandate of the people would make their aspirations clear. “And while the government inevitably has its part to play, I would argue that the greater opportunity and ability lies in the skill, talent, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship of 1.3 billion Indians.”
Kovind said contemporary India is very different from the India in which Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked.
“Even so, Gandhiji remains extremely relevant. In his advocacy of sustainability, ecological sensitivity and living in harmony with nature, he anticipated pressing challenges of our times.
“When we design and deliver welfare programmes for our disadvantaged fellow citizens and families, when we seek to harness the power of the sun as renewable energy, we put Gandhian philosophy into action,” he said.
Highlights of President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation:
7.25 pm: I wish that our inclusive culture, our ideals, our compassion, our curiosity and our brotherhood remain forever. And all of us, keep moving in the shadow of these values. I wish you all a very happy Independence Day. Jai Hind!
7.24 pm: Subrahmanya Bharti, the great poet who gave voice to our freedom movement, envisioned a future India more than a hundred years ago, seems to come true in our efforts - President Kovind
7.23 pm: It is a specialty of our culture that we all have a feeling of love and compassion for nature and for all living beings. We have sheltered three-quarters of the world's wild tiger population - President Kovind
7.22 pm: I am confident that India will maintain its sensitivity to the last man of the society; India will remain firm on its ideals; India will cherish its values â€‹â€‹and carry forward the tradition of courage - President Kovind
7.22 pm: India is a country of youth. The energy of our youth is spreading its talent in many fields, from sports to science and from knowledge discovery to soft skills - President Kovind
7.21 pm: We also show this spirit of cooperation in our relations with other countries. We are happy to share all the special experiences and qualifications we have with fellow nations - President Kovind
7.20 pm: The society of India has always been easy and simple, and has followed the principle of 'live and let live'. We have been respecting each other by rising above the boundaries of language, creed and region. In the history of thousands of years, Indian society has rarely acted with malice or prejudice: President Kovind.
7.19 pm: When we talk about the inclusive culture of our country, then we all have to see how our mutual behavior should be. We should treat all individuals with the same respect and respect that we want for ourselves - President Kovind
7.18 pm: It is the duty of all of us to use and protect the infrastructure created for the development of society and the nation. This infrastructure belongs to every Indian, belongs to all of us because it is a national asset - President Kovind
7.17 pm: The full benefit of providing toilets and water in every household will be given only when these facilities, empowering our sisters and daughters and increasing their dignity - President Kovind
7.16 pm: To take full advantage of the efforts of the government, we all citizens have to be aware and active - President Kovind
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7.14 pm: The government is providing better basic facilities and capacity to the people to help them fulfill their hopes and aspirations.
In such a favorable environment, the achievements that our countrymen can achieve are beyond our imagination - President Kovind
7.13 pm: His aspirations are clearly visible in the mandate of the people. The government plays its role in fulfilling these aspirations.
I believe that 130 crore Indians can create more development opportunities on a much larger scale through their skills, talent, enterprise and innovation - President Kovind
7.12 pm: Today our aim is to speed up the development, make the system efficient and transparent so that the lives of the people are better - President Kovind
7.11 pm: Our institutions and policy makers should pay full attention to the signals they receive from citizens and respect the views and wishes of the countrymen - President Kovind
7.10 pm: I am happy that in the recently concluded session of Parliament, the meetings of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have been very successful - President Kovind
7.09 pm: It is the responsibility of all of us to work shoulder to shoulder with passion to take our glorious country to new heights - President Kovind
7.08 pm: In the summer of this year, all of you countrymen have completed the world's largest democratic process by participating in the 17th General Election. For this achievement, all voters are eligible to be congratulated - President Kovind
7.07 pm: I am confident that the recent changes for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will greatly benefit the residents there - President Kovind
7.06 pm: For the great generation of people who gave us freedom, freedom was not limited to political power alone. His aim was also to improve the system of life and society of every person - President Kovind
7.05 pm: This year of 2019 is also the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji. He is one of the greatest saints of India.I extend my heartiest wishes to all followers of Guru Nanak Devji for this auspicious year - President Kovind
7.04 pm: Many of our ongoing efforts make Gandhiji's ideas real. The lives of our countrymen are being made better through many welfare programs. Special emphasis on increasing the use of solar energy is also in line with Gandhiji's thinking - President Kovind
7.03 pm: Gandhi's guidance is equally relevant today. They had already anticipated our serious challenges today. Gandhiji believed that we should use the resources of nature with prudence so that the balance of development and nature always remains - President Kovind
7.02 pm: On October 2, we will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji was a great hero of our freedom struggle. He was also our guide in efforts to free the society from all forms of injustice - President Kovind
7.01 pm: We remember with gratitude our numerous freedom fighters and revolutionaries who presented great ideals of struggle, sacrifice and sacrifice to liberate us - President Kovind
7.00 pm: My heartiest congratulations to all of you on the eve of Independence Day! This independence Day is a very happy day for all the children of mother India, whether at home or abroad: President Kovind.