Our daughters are the country's greatest hope, says Prez Murmu in her speech on eve of I-day
"Gender inequalities are lowering, and women are breaking through many glass ceilings. Their growing involvement in social and political processes will be decisive," President Droupadi Murmu said that there were more than 14 lakh elected women representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions at the grassroots level.
President Droupadi Murmu on Sunday said that India has helped the world discover the true potential of democracy and that the country's keyword today is compassion for the oppressed, needy, and marginalised.
In her inaugural address to the nation on the eve of India's 76th Independence Day, Murmu said that innovative welfare initiatives accompany the major economic reforms and that the world has seen a new India rising in recent years, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The president attributed India's newfound confidence to the spirit of its youth, farmers, and, most importantly, women.
"Gender inequalities are lowering, and women are breaking through many glass ceilings. Their growing involvement in social and political processes will be decisive," she added that there were more than 14 lakh elected women representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions at the grassroots level.
"Our daughters are the greatest hope for the nation," she said, referring to the recently concluded Commonwealth Games, in which athletes, particularly women, have done the country proud with their performances in international competitions.
"Many of our winners come from underserved communities. Our daughters are achieving great things, from becoming fighter pilots to becoming space scientists," Murmu stated.
The president stated that when India achieved independence, many international leaders and experts were sceptical of the success of the democratic form of government in India due to poverty and illiteracy.
"But we Indians proved them wrong. Democracy not only grew roots, but it was also enriched in this soil," she said as she asked citizens to pledge to give their all for the country's safety, security, progress, and prosperity.
In her 17-minute speech, the president praised policymakers for ensuring the country's growth, which has become more inclusive with reduced regional disparities.
Murmu, who took over the presidency last month, said, "Our response to the pandemic has been widely praised. We launched the largest vaccination campaign in human history, using vaccines made in the country. We passed the 200-crore mark in cumulative vaccine coverage last month."
She stated that India's achievements in combating the pandemic have been superior to many developed countries. Further, she said, "We owe this achievement to scientists, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and vaccination staff."
As per the president, the pandemic uprooted lives and economies all over the world. "While rest of the world was dealing with economic fallout from the great crisis, India got its act together and is now moving forward. India has one of the world's fastest-growing major economies" whose startup ecosystem is among the best in the world.
"Our existence will become meaningful only in building a glorious India," the president said, quoting poet Kuvempu's poem "I will pass, so will you, but on our bones will arise the great tale of a new India."
She stated that this is the nationalist poet's clarion call to make a complete sacrifice for the motherland and uplift fellow citizens.
She added that following such ideals is her special appeal to the country's youth who will build the India of 2047.
In most other well-established democracies, women had to fight long and hard for the right to vote. However, she claims that India has had universal adult franchise rights since the beginning of the Republic.
Thus, the architects of modern India enabled every adult citizen to participate in the collective process of nation-building, adding that India can be credited with assisting the rest of the world in discovering the true potential of democracy.
She cited the success of startups, particularly the growing number of unicorns, as a shining example of industrial progress. She credited the Narendra Modi government and policymakers with bucking the global trend and promoting the economy's growth.
In recent years, unprecedented progress has been made in the development of physical and digital infrastructure; credit must also be given to workers and farmers whose hard work has made it possible and entrepreneurs whose business acumen has created wealth for our country's vibrancy of growth.
"What's more encouraging is that growth is becoming more inclusive, and regional disparities are too reducing."
"However, this is only the beginning. A series of economic reforms and policy initiatives have laid the groundwork for a long-term, the "National Education Policy" aims to prepare the next generation for the next stage of the industrial revolution while reconnecting it with our heritage."
She stated that economic success leads to ease of living, as innovative welfare initiatives accompany the reforms.
"A home of one's own is no longer a pipe dream for the poor but is becoming a reality for more people due to the 'Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.' Similarly, since the launch of the 'Har Ghar Jal' scheme under the 'Jal Jeevan Mission,' every household has received a tap water connection," she stated.
She stated that these and other similar efforts aim to provide basic necessities to all, particularly the poor.
"Compassion is the keyword for India today; compassion for the oppressed, the needy, and those on the margins." Some of our national values have been incorporated into our Constitution as the citizens' Fundamental Duties.
"I urge every citizen to be aware of their Fundamental Duties and to carry them out in letter and spirit so that our nation can reach new heights," she said.
She stated that the emphasis on good governance is at the heart of the country's transformation in healthcare, education, the economy, and several other areas.
"It is unavoidable that work done in the spirit of 'Nation First' will reflect every decision and every sector." According to her, India's global standing reflects this.
She stated that while celebrating Independence Day, "We're celebrating 'Bharatiyata.' Our country is rich in variety. But, at the same time, we all share something. This common thread connects and inspires us to walk together in the spirit of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat."
She also addressed the environment, saying that even as the world faces new challenges, India must remain determined to preserve its flora and fauna.
"With our traditional way of life, we Indians can show the rest of the world the way. Yoga and Ayurveda are invaluable gifts from India to the world. Their popularity is growing all over the world," she stated.
The president stated that the country has been commemorating the noble ideals that brought the country freedom for 75 weeks.
"We started the 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' in March 2021 with a reenactment of the Dandi March. Our celebrations began with a tribute to the watershed event that had put our struggle on the map around the world. This festival honours the people of India."
She stated that citizens of all ages have enthusiastically participated in a series of events held across the country, including the 'Har Ghar Tiranga Abhiyan.'
"The Indian tricolour is fluttering in every direction across the country. Great martyrs would have been thrilled to see the spirit of the Independence Movement resurrected on such a grand scale," she said.
She praised the government for declaring November 15 as 'Janajatiya Gaurav Divas,' stating that "our tribal heroes are not merely local or regional icons, but they inspire the entire nation."
"By 2047, we will have fully realised the dreams of our freedom fighters," she said. We will have given concrete form to the vision of those who drafted the Constitution, led by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.
She stated that by 2047, "We will have fully realised our freedom fighters' dreams. We will have given concrete form to the vision of those who drafted the Constitution, led by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. We are already on course to create an Atmanirbhar Bharat, an India that has reached its true potential."
Murmu stated that August 14 is observed as 'Partition Horrors Remembrance Day' to promote social harmony, unity, and people's empowerment.
"Tomorrow marks the day when we free ourselves from the shackles of colonial rulers and decide to reshape our destiny."
"As we celebrate that day's anniversary, we bow to all those men and women who made enormous sacrifices to allow us to live in a free India," she said, adding that it is a cause for celebration not only for all of us but also for every advocate of democracy around the world.
(With inputs from PTI)