Updated: August 15, 2021 7:28:12 am
Highlighting India’s “stellar performances” at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, President Ram Nath Kovind Saturday appreciated the success of women in all walks of life, including sports, and urged parents to learn from the families of such daughters and provide opportunities to their daughters also to explore avenues of growth.
Addressing the nation on the eve of the 75th Independence Day, Kovind said, “Our daughters have achieved world-class excellence in playgrounds, overcoming many adversities. Along with sports, epoch-making changes are taking place in the participation and success of women in all walks of life. From higher educational institutions to armed forces, from laboratories to playgrounds, our daughters are making their mark.”
Noting that “India had won the highest number of medals in 121 years of its participation in the Olympics”, the President said that in the success of the women, “I see a glimpse of a developed India of the future.”
Days after the Monsoon Session of Parliament, marked by Opposition protests, was adjourned ahead of schedule, Kovind underlined the importance of the House as the “temple of the country’s democracy” and “the highest forum” to discuss people’s issues.
When India won Independence, many sceptics thought democracy would not survive in the country, but the founding fathers had reposed their faith in the people, the President said in the 22-minute televised address. “… 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,” Kovind said. “We have adopted the system of parliamentary democracy. Therefore, our Parliament is the temple of our democracy, which provides us the highest forum where we discuss, debate and decide issues for the well-being of our people.”
The President said India must strive for more equality in an unequal world, more justice in unjust circumstances, adding, “Justice has come to encompass a larger range of connotations, including economic and environmental justice.” He said India had the benefit of guidance “from diverse sources, from the venerable seers of millennia ago, down to the sages and leaders of more recent times”. “In the spirit of ‘unity in diversity’, we as a nation are following the right course.”
Speaking of the changes in Jammu and Kashmir, Kovind called it a “nav-jaagaran (new dawn)”. “The government has initiated the process of consultation with all stakeholders who have faith in democracy and the rule of law. I urge the people, especially the youth, of Jammu and Kashmir to utilise this opportunity and work on realising their aspirations through democratic institutions,” he said.
Addressing the concerns of farmers protesting against three new farm laws for months now, Kovind said the series of agricultural marketing reforms will empower our “annadata” and help them get a better price for their produce.
Kovind also referred in his speech to the second Covid-19 wave, saying that while the public healthcare infrastructure came under stress, “The reality is that no infrastructure, even of advanced economies, could withstand a crisis of such enormous proportions.”
Acknowledging “exceptional efforts from all”, particularly scientists, in bringing Covid under control last year, he said the new variants and other factors led to a “terrible” second wave. “I am deeply sad that many lives could not be saved and many more suffered immensely… We can take solace from the fact that more lives have been saved than the lives lost,” he said.
“We are yet to come out of the devastating effects,” Kovind added, advising people to not let their guard down and to get vaccinated at the earliest.
The President said he had seen the economic impact of the pandemic, and said the government was concerned about the lower middle classes, poor, labourers and employers facing hardships “due to the lockdowns and movement restrictions”.
In the speech, Kovind also highlighted the challenges posed by climate change and India’s commitment to the Paris agreement.
The President said it was a matter of great pride for the country that Parliament would soon be housed in a new building, to be inaugurated in the 75th year of Independence. “It will be a fitting statement of our outlook. It will honour our legacy while also walking in step with the contemporary world.”
Wishing everyone prosperity and hoping that they would overcome the difficulties caused by Covid, Kovind said, “I cannot stop my mind from imagining a powerful, prosperous and peaceful India of 2047 when we will celebrate 100 years of our Independence.”
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