Srinagar on the eve of Independence Day.

Srinagar on the eve of Independence Day.

President praises govt move on Article 370 on I-Day eve speech

Confident that changes in Kashmir will benefit people: Kovind

Ajay Banerjee | New Delhi | 14 August, 2019 | 11:00 PM

The Narendra Modi-led government's decision to withdraw special status to Jammu & Kashmir and divide the state into two Union Territories came in for praise from President Ram Nath Kovind during his address to the nation on the eve of India's 73rd Independence Day. He expressed confidence that the government's moves on Kashmir would be of "immense benefit" to the people of J&K and Ladakh and enable them to access the same rights and privileges as the rest of the country.

“I believe the recent changes carried out in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will be immensely beneficial for the citizens of the region,” Kovind said.

The President further added that the political changes to the state will enable its people to access and enjoy the same rights, privileges and facilities at par with the rest of the country.

“These include progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to the Right to Education; accessing public information through the Right to Information; reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities; and justice for our daughters by abolishing unequal practices such as instant triple talaq,” he added.

Kovind also praised political parties cutting across ideological lines for the extended Budget session of the Parliament which enabled the passage of several key bills.

“Happy to note that the recently concluded session of Parliament saw lengthy and productive sittings of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Many important Bills were passed in a spirit of cross-party co-operation and constructive debate. I am confident this is only an indicator of what the coming five years have in store,” he said.

The President urged upon the government to build financial infrastructure in the form of a transparent and inclusive banking system, an online-friendly tax system and easier access to capital for legitimate entrepreneurs.

“The government can build physical infrastructure in the form of housing for the poorest of the poor, and availability of energy, toilets and water in every home. The government can build institutional infrastructure to address the paradox of floods and calamities in some parts of the country, and water scarcity in other parts.

“The government can build connectivity infrastructure in the form of wider, better highways and safer, faster trains; airports in the interiors of our country and ports that dot our coasts. And near-universal data access that allows common citizens to benefit from Digital India,” he said.

Kovind also stressed upon the need for better infrastructure to improve the economic scenario of India. He further spoke about the importance of universal availability of toilets and availability of household water in empowering the women of India.
On August 5, the Government of India revoked the special status for Kashmir and divided the state into two Union territories – J&K and Ladakh — for better governance.

Referring to the Lok Sabha elections, he said the 17th general election was the largest democratic exercise in human history. “For this, I must congratulate our voters. They turned up at polling stations in large numbers and with much enthusiasm.”

“Indians can be very different in their tastes and habits, but Indians share the same dreams. Before 1947, the dreams were for a free India. Today, the dreams are for accelerated development; for effective and transparent governance; and yet for a smaller footprint of government in our everyday lives.” (IANS)