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Scrapping Article 370 will immensely benefit people of J&K: President Kovind

By Vishal S
|

New Delhi, Aug 14: President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said that with the abrogation of Article 370 the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh can now enjoy same privileges and rights as people in rest of the country. He said this will immensely benefit them.

In his 73rd Independence Day address, the President also hailed the productive sittings of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in the recently concluded Budget Session.

President Ram Nath Kovind

"I am confident that the recent changes made in Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh would be of immense benefit to those regions. This will enable people to access and enjoy the same rights, same privileges and facilities as their fellow citizens in rest of the country. These include progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to Right to Education, accessing public information through Right to information, reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities and justice to our daughters by abolishing unequal practices such as Triple Talaq," President said in his address.

President's comments assume significance in the wake of Centre scrapping Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status. The state was under a heavy security blanket for over a week after August 5, when the decision was taken, and the restrictions are being eased now.

Remembering the sacrifices of the freedom fighters, the President said Mahatma Gandhi was the guiding light of India's successful effort to liberate the nation.

"When we design and deliver welfare programmes for our disadvantaged fellow citizens and families, when we seek to harness the power of the sun as renewable energy, we put Gandhian philosophy into action..Gandhiji believed that we should use the resources of nature with discretion so that the balance of development and nature always remains," he said.

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Kovind also underlined the need for the government to build financial infrastructure in the form of a transparent, inclusive banking system, an online friendly tax system and easier access to capital for legitimate entrepreneurs.

The President observed that India has rarely been a judgemental society and rather it has had an "easy-going, live-and-let-live organising principle."

"India's history and destiny, India's legacy and future, are a function of coexistence and conciliation, of reform and reconciliation--of expanding our hearts and embracing the idea of others." Kovind said he was confident India will never lose its capacity to listen to the "feeblest voice" and it will never lose sight of its ancient ideals and will forget neither its sense of fairness nor its sense of adventure.

Complimenting people for taking part in the 17th general elections in April-May, Kovind said every election marks a new beginning and every election is the renewal of India's collective hope and optimism. Referring to the recently concluded session of Parliament which recorded lengthy and productive sittings, the President said many important Bills were passed, in a spirit of cross-party cooperation and constructive debate.

"I am confident this is only an indicator of what the coming five years have in store. I also urge that this culture percolates to all our legislative assemblies," he said.

The President also spoke about how state and society, government and citizen, must see and cooperate. Kovind said the baton building is about creating that optimal partnership between voters and their representatives, between citizens and their government, and between civil society and state.

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"The state and the government have an important role, as a facilitator and an enabler. As such, it is critical for our key institutions and the policy makers to study and appreciate the message being sent by citizens and to be responsive to the thoughts and wishes of our people," he said.

Kovind said as the President, he travelled all over the country, to diverse states and regions, and meet citizens from all walks of life. "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," he said.

The President said fulfilling these dreams is essential and any reading of the mandate of the people would make their aspirations clear.

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