President Ram Nath Kovind today said India is at the cusp of achieving many of long-awaited goals like universal access to electricity, elimination of open defecation, homelessness, and extreme poverty. Mr Kovind said it is a pivotal moment and contentious issues and extraneous debates not distract the people from achieving these targets. In his address to the nation on the eve of Independence day, the President said India will be marking the 75th anniversary of lndependence after four years. He said the decisions taken now and the foundations laid today will determine where India stands.
Mr Kovind said farmers of the country are upholding the country’s freedom by ensuring food security and nutrition for the children. He added that as government assists farmers by providing access to technology, and other facilities for enhanced productivity and incomes, country lives up to the principles of freedom struggle.
Saying that Armed Forces stand guard valiantly on borders in extreme conditions, Mr Kovind stated that they are upholding the freedom by ensuring security from external threats. He also said police and paramilitary forces take on a variety of challenges like battling terrorism, fighting crime and law and order disturbances. He pointed out that in this way, they are upholding the civic freedom.
Highlighting the special role of women in the society, the President said the expansion of freedom in the country in many sense amounts to the expansion of freedom for women. He stressed that as a nation and society, it should be ensured that women have the right to live a life of their choosing. He said by facilitating, credit for women run enterprises and start-ups or by easier availability of LPG in millions of homes, the government has lived up to the principles of freedom struggle.
The President said the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is taking seven flagship programmes to the very doorstep of the poorest and the most deprived among the citizens. He further said that the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan has been extended to 117 Aspirational Districts where still stark gaps in the development narrative remain even after seven decades after Independence. Mr Kovind said there is a significant overlap between the populations of these districts and historically weaker communities, such as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. He said this is an opportunity to raise the quality of life of those who have unfortunately remained at the bottom of the pyramid.
President Kovind said, country’s young population represents the hopes and aspirations of India. He said, by building capacities for skilling and scholarship, technology and entrepreneurship, country is harnessing the unlimited human capital of the youth.
The President said this year’s Independence Day is extra special as in a few weeks, on 2nd October, the commemoration of the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi will begin. He noted that Gandhiji did not just lead the freedom struggle but was and still is the moral compass of the nation.
The President highlighted that Gandhiji’s most noble mantra was to point out that the power of non violence is far greater than the power of violence. Mr Kovind said the power to stay the hand is far greater than the power to strike with the hand and violence has no place in the society. He added that non violence was the most effective weapon Gandhiji gave to the nation. He said non violence is rooted in India’s ancient wisdom and yet has a resonance in the 21st century and in daily lives of people.
President Kovind remarked how Mahatma Gandhi personally led the drive for cleanliness. He added that the Father of the Nation linked the removal of dirt to an act of self-discipline and of promoting physical and mental health. He said, Gandhiji spoke of swadeshi with an uncommon zeal and took pride in promoting lndian creativity and an sensibility. He said Gandhiji’s concept of Swadeshi is still relevant as India engages with the world whether for economy, health, education and social aspirations, or policy choices.
The President called upon the countrymen to adapt Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas and maxims as there is no better way to celebrate India’s freedom.
He said that India believes in the age-old ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – World is one Family and this is why India provides assistance to many African countries, and takes initiatives on the issue of climate change, contributes to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, helps neighbouring countries affected by natural disasters, and rescues people from other countries along with its own people, trapped in conflict zones. He said in the spirit of Gandhiji and the spirit of India, nation is sharing the practice of yoga for health and well-being, and using technology for development.
The President said that during his engagements with students, he has urged them to spend a few days in a village as part of University Social Responsibility. He said this will help students understand the country and allow them to observe and participate in social welfare programmes. Mr Kovind pointed out that the outcome of education is not merely a degree or a diploma, but commitment to help improve the life of another in a way that is sustainable. He said this is the Indian spirit as lndia belongs to the people of India and not just to the Government.
The President said Independence Day is an occasion to renew the resolve to fill the gaps that still remain in nation building project. He exuded confidence that the youth of the nation will undoubtedly fill the gaps.