The revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the passage of Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament remained the key highlights of President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation delivered on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day.
Kovind expressed confidence that the people of J&K 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. “I am confident that the recent changes made in Jammu-Kashmir & 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,” said Kovind.
On August, the Narendra Modi-led central government announced 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. Full Text of President’s speech on eve of I-Day
The measures later secured Parliament’s approval. The two UTs will come into existence on October 31.
Talking about the laws that will be implemented in Kashmir after the scrapping of the special status, Kovind said, “These include progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to RTE. Accessing public info through RTI; reservations in education and employment and other facilities for deprived communities
The president argued that the law against triple talaq will deliver justice to India’s daughters. “Enactment of law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence will deliver justice for our daughters,” said Kovind.
In addition, Kovind highlighted 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 also 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,” he said.
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.
With PTI inputs