Updated: August 21, 2021 7:14:02 am
President Ram Nath Kovind, during his televised address to the nation on the eve of 75th Independence Day, said Parliament is the “temple of the country’s democracy” which provides the highest forum to discuss, debate and decide issues for the well-being of people.
His comments came in the backdrop of a tumultuous Monsoon session which led to the abrupt adjournment of the two Houses—Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
“When India won Independence, many sceptics thought democracy wouldn’t survive in this country. Little did they know that roots of democracy were nurtured in this soil in ancient times, and even in modern times India was ahead of many western nations in offering franchise to all adults, regardless of any distinctions. The founding fathers had reposed their faith in the wisdom of the people, and we, the people of India, have made India a strong democracy… We have adopted the system of parliamentary democracy, and which provides us highest forum where we discuss, debate and decide issues for the well-being of our people,” President Kovind said.
This year’s monsoon session was the third least productive Lok Sabha session of the last two decades, with a productivity of just 21 per cent. Opposition parties had disrupted both Houses over the government’s unwillingness to allow discussion on the Pegasus snooping scandal, the farmers’ protests, and the rise in prices, especially of auto fuels.
He further said: “It is a matter of great pride for all Indians that our Parliament will soon be housed in a new building. This will honour our legacy while also making sure we walk in step with the contemporary world. It is more than symbolic that the new building will be inaugurated in the 75th year of our independence.”
On the pandemic, the President urged the countrymen to not let their guard down and insisted that vaccines are the best possible protection against the Covid-19 infection. Stating that India is yet to come out of the devastating effects of the pandemic, the President urged all eligible citizens to get vaccinated at the earliest and inspire others.
“I am sad that many lives could not be saved during this unprecedented crisis. I speak for the whole nation when I say that I share the grief of all the affected families with the same intensity…Our corona warriors, the doctors, nurses and health workers, the administrators, and others, risked everything to contain the impact of the second wave…Vaccines are the best possible protection that science offers us,” he said.
President Kovind also said that though the economic impact of the pandemic has been disastrous, the government has taken many steps to alleviate the suffering of the people. “It is heartening to note that an amount of Rs 23,220 crore is being spent over one year for expansion of medical facilities. The series of agricultural marketing reforms will empower our ‘annadata’ farmers and help them get better price for their produce. The government took a series of relief measures, including distributing food grains to 80 crore people in May and June, and the economic stimulus to the Covid-affected sectors,” he continued.
Speaking on the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics, President Kovind said, “Our sportspersons have brought laurels to the nation with their stellar performances. India has won the highest number of medals in the 121 years of its participation in the Olympics.”
Earlier in the day, President Kovind also hosted a ‘high tea’ at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre for the Indian contingent that participated at the Tokyo Olympics. Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu was also present on the occasion.
President Ram Nath Kovind hosted High Tea for the Indian Contingent of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre. Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu also graced the occasion. Glimpses of the interaction. pic.twitter.com/S95ByuSVZk
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 14, 2021
On women’s empowerment, the President said, “From higher educational institutions to armed forces, from laboratories to playgrounds, our daughters are making their mark. In this success of our daughters, I see a glimpse of a developed India of the future. I urge every parent to learn from the families of promising daughters and provide opportunities to their daughters also to explore avenues of growth.”
Speaking on climate change, President Kovind said, “Seas are rising, glaciers melting and temperatures soaring. India is proud of adhering to the Paris Climate Agreement but doing more than what the country has committed to protect the climate. But the world needs a course correction and so the world is turning to India now. The government’s new initiatives to promote eco-friendly and renewable sources of energy, particularly solar power, has won praise all around the world.”
The President also said that Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a new dawn now. “A new dawn is rising in Jammu and Kashmir. The government is holding dialogues with all stakeholders who have faith in democracy,” he said. “I urge the people, especially the youth, of Jammu and Kashmir to utilise this opportunity and work on realising their aspirations through democratic institutions.”