In his first Republic Day eve address to the nation, the President touched on a range of topics including the pre-independence struggle, cultural harmony, eradicating poverty and others.
He stressed on the importance of empowering women, and employing the young people of the nation. He said that an innovative nation is built by innovative children and the nation's goal should be to encourage children to think and to tinker.
The President also said institutions should be "disciplined and morally upright", adding they are always "more important" than the individuals in office. The institutions should also respect their "fraternal relationship" with other institutions, he added.
"A civic-minded nation is built by civic-minded neighbourhoods, whether in our cities or our villages. Where we respect the next-door person's space, privacy and rights. Where we do not inconvenience our neighbours while celebrating a festival or while resorting to a protest or on any other occasion.
"Where one can disagree with another viewpoint - or even with a historical context - without mocking a fellow citizen's dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action," the President said.
The comments come at a time when several parts of the country have witnessed stiff opposition over Padmaavat, with some fringe groups alleging that the film distorts their history and defames Rajput queen Padmaavati. The film hit the screens on Thursday amid tight security.
"A disciplined and morally upright nation is built by disciplined and morally upright institutions. Institutions that respect their fraternal relationship with other institutions. Institutions that maintain the integrity, discipline and limits of their functioning, without compromising on excellence.
"Institutions that are always more important than the individuals located there. And institutions where the holders and members make every attempt to live up to the office they occupy as trustees of the people," Kovind said.
Highlights of President Kovind speech
- This is the day to remember the valour and sacrifice of those lakhs of people who fought for the independence of the country and helped build the constitution of the country.
- A Republic is its people. Citizens do not just make up and preserve a Republic; they are its ultimate stakeholders and in fact pillars. Each one of us is a pillar - the soldier who defends our Republic; the farmer who feeds our Republic.
- President Kovind thanked all army men, doctors, farmers, nurses, scientists, engineers and the mothers of the county.
- He said there were many more people doing a lot for the country, who he could not mention, but would like to thank as well for their service.
- The nation's freedom fighters fought not only for the nation's independence, but also for social change.
- It was with the framing and adoption of the Constitution - and the birth of the Republic of India - that we truly achieved the ethic of equality among all citizens, irrespective of religion, region or community.
- A confident and forward-looking nation is built by confident and forward-looking young people. Over 60 per cent of our fellow citizens are below the age of 35. It is in them that our hopes lie.
- We have made strides in spreading literacy; now we must expand frontiers of education. Our aspiration must be to upgrade and enlarge our education system - and make it relevant to 21st century realities of the digital economy, genomics, robotics and automation.
- An innovative nation is built by innovative children. This must be our obsessive goal. Our schooling system has to encourage our children to think and to tinker, not just to memorise and reproduce.
- A civic-minded nation is built by civic-minded neighbourhoods. Where we respect the next-door person's space, privacy and rights. Where we do not inconvenience our neighbours while celebrating a festival or while resorting to a protest or on any other occasion.
- Where one can disagree with another viewpoint - or even with a historical context - without mocking a fellow citizen's dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action.
- A nation with a sense of selflessness is built by citizens and by a society that embraces selflessness.
- Where voluntary groups clean public places such as beaches and rivers. And care for orphaned children and homeless people, and even for homeless animals.
Earlier, said that India "greatly values" the role played by the Asean regional bloc in ensuring peace and prosperity in the region.
Speaking at a lunch he hosted in honour of the heads of state and government of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) who are here to attend the Commemorative Summit to mark 25 years of the India-Asean Dialogue Partnership, Kovind said that relations between India and the regional bloc have come a long way since the establishment of the partnership.
Stating that India's Act East policy reinforces its ancient links with southeast Asia through enhanced political, security, economic and cultural ties, Kovind said.
Heavy security arrangements have been stepped up across the country in view of the functions tomorrow.