Time of social distancing has brought us close to each other: President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind said that the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has made us appreciate how we all Indians are connected as one family.
NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind said that the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has made us appreciate how we all Indians are connected as one family. "The time of social distancing has brought us close to each other. We have realized how much we depend on each other," said the President in his address to the nation on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day.
The President extended his greetings to the citizens of the country. "My heartiest greetings to all of you, in India and abroad, on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day! It is an occasion to celebrate what is common to us all, our Indian-ness. It was on this day in 1950 that this sacred essence of us all assumed a formal shape. That day, India was established as the largest democratic republic and 'we the people' put into effect a Constitution that is an inspired document of our collective vision. The diversity and vibrancy of our democracy is appreciated world-wide. It is this spirit of unity and of being one nation which is celebrated every year as Republic Day. This year's celebrations may be muted due to the pandemic, but the spirit is as strong as ever," said the President.
The President said that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an extraordinary challenge to mankind. "As the pandemic is still widespread, we must remain alert and not let our guard down. The precautions we have taken till now have to be continued. Wearing mask and maintaining social distancing have been essential parts of COVID appropriate behaviour. In the fight against the COVID pandemic, it has now become a sacred national duty of every citizen to follow the precautions suggested by our scientists and experts. We have to discharge this duty till the crisis is behind us."
He lauded the role of healthcare professionals in fighting the pandemic. "Doctors, nurses and paramedics have risen to the challenge, working long hours in difficult conditions even at the risk of their lives to attend to patients. Others have kept the nation moving, managing supply chains and utilities. The leadership, policy-makers, administrators and others at the central and state levels have made timely interventions."
He remembered the contributions of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and other freedom fighters who fought for India's independence. "On this occasion, let us also remember the great freedom fighters who showed incomparable courage in their pursuit of the dream of Swaraj and fired up the people to fight for it. Two days ago, on 23rd January, all of us observed the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who had adopted the energizing salutation of 'Jai-Hind'. His quest for independence and his ambition to make India proud inspire all of us," he said.
The President said that despite the pandemic, the country's economy is on the move again. "It is a testimony to India's spirit in the face of adversity that the economy is projected to grow at an impressive rate in this fiscal, after going through contraction last year. This shows the success of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan launched in the previous year. The government has shown relentless focus on reforming every economic sector and providing a helping hand wherever necessary. The impressive economic performance is made possible due to improvement in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. I am happy to note that our farmers, especially young farmers with small holdings, are enthusiastically adopting natural farming."
"Small and medium enterprises have played an important role in providing employment to people and imparting impetus to the economy. Our innovative young entrepreneurs have set new benchmarks of success by making effective use of the start-up eco-system. It is a testimony to the success of our country's massive and robust digital payment platform that millions of digital transactions are being done every month. To reap the demographic dividend, the government has created the right environment with the National Education Policy that makes a perfect blend of traditional values and modern skills. It is gratifying to note that India has found a place among the top 50 innovative economies. It is all the more satisfying to note that we have been able to promote merit while also stressing upon all-round inclusion."
Further, Kovind remembered India's first chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat who died along with 13 others in a plane crash last month near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. "When a brave soldier dies on duty, the entire country feels sad. Last month, in an unfortunate accident, we lost one of the bravest commanders of the country - General Bipin Rawat - his wife and many brave soldiers. The entire country was deeply saddened by the tragic loss."
"As the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, I am glad to note that it has been a water-shed year for women empowerment in the Armed Forces. Our daughters have broken a glass ceiling, and permanent commission has now been allowed for women officers in new areas. Also, the talent pipeline for the forces will be strengthened with women coming through Sainik Schools and the prestigious National Defence Academy. Consequently, our Armed Forces will benefit from better gender balance."
The President expressed confidence that the youth of the nation will take it ahead on the path of progress. "India is an ancient civilization but a young republic. For us, nation-building is a constant endeavour. As in a family, so in a nation; one generation works hard to ensure a better future for the next generation. When we won independence, the exploitation of colonial rule had left us in utter poverty, but in seventy-five years, we have made impressive progress. New opportunities await the next generation. Our youth have taken advantage of these opportunities and set new benchmarks of success. I am sure that with this energy, confidence and entrepreneurship, our country will continue to march ahead on the path of progress and will definitely secure its rightful place, befitting its potential, in the global community." (PIB)