President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday reminded Governors about their commitment to the Constitution as incumbents of an office that is a bridge between the Centre and states.
Opening the 48th Conference of Governors at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President said that “in the context of cooperative federalism, the Constitutional obligation of Governors in preservation, conservation and defence of the Constitution” and “being in the service and ensuring welfare of people” becomes even more important.
“You discharge the function of a bridge between the Centre and the state. By Article 168 of the Constitution, the Governor is an indispensable part of the legislature of a state,” he said.
“The President said that being an intrinsic part of the legislative system in their states, Governors can provide a new dimension to the development of their states by communicating with legislators, and inviting them to Raj Bhavan to deliberate on subjects related to public well-being,” a statement issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan quoted Kovind as saying.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed the first session of the conference, encouraged Governors to interact at length with students and teachers, describing them as people who can become catalytic agents for change in society, while upholding the sanctity of the Constitution. Mentioning the target of New India by 2022, Modi emphasised that this can be achieved only by making it a people’s movement.
Kovind spoke about critical milestones and national goals that have been set in the context of completion of 75 years of independence in 2022. “The five years from 2017 to 2022 are devoted to the creation of New India, one free of corruption, poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and unhygienic conditions. Simultaneously, a strong foundation will also be laid for the coming generations. In order to ensure ‘Team India’ advances in a single direction to achieve these national goals, Governors should inspire and connect all relevant stakeholders in their respective states,” he said.
The President said it was essential to link youth with the process of nation-building. The future of the country depends on the capacities, moral values and compassion of the younger generation, he said, adding that special attention needs to be paid to higher education and skill development at the level of states. This is particularly true given the challenges of automation and artificial intelligence, he said.
He pointed out that 69 per cent of universities in the country are under the purview of state governments, and 94 per cent of all college and university students study in these institutions.
Other participants in the inaugural session included Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister for Health J P Nadda.
The two-day conference will deliberate on distinct agenda items at different sessions.
The theme of the opening session was ‘New India-2022’. The second session was on the subjects of ‘Higher Education in States’ and ‘Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to Make Youth Employable’.
In the third session on Friday, the Governors will make brief remarks on special issues pertaining to their respective states/Union territories.
In the concluding session, a brief report on the deliberations will be presented by the respective conveners.