Indian President tries to allay fears over Govt’s move on Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi, Aug 14 : In his address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said that the recent changes by the government  in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh would benefit the residents of the region.

Referring to the revocation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, President Kovind said: “I am confident that the recent changes made in Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh would be of immense benefit to those regions. They will enable the people to access and enjoy the same rights, same privileges and same facilities as their fellow citizens in the rest of the country.”

The Centre is providing basic facilities in order to help every citizen of the country, underlined the President. “Nation-building – a continuous process, of which Independence was a key milestone – requires every institution and every stakeholder to work in tandem, to work in harmony and to work in togetherness. Nation-building is about creating that optimal partnership between voters and their representatives, between citizens and their government, and between civil society and state,” said the President.

“We complete 72 years as a free nation at a very special juncture. In a few weeks from now, on 2nd October, we will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi, the guiding light of our successful effort to liberate our nation,” said President Kovind.

This year also marks the 550th birth anniversary of one of the greatest, wisest and most influential Indians of all time Guru Nanak Dev ji. He was the founder of Sikhism but the reverence and respect he commands go far beyond just our Sikh brothers and sisters.

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.”

He expressed happiness 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 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.”

Commenting on governance, he said the state and the government have an important role to play as 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.”

“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.”

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