On the 68th Republic day, President Pranab Mukherjee addressed the nation and asserted that the strength of the country lies in pluralism and diversity.
“A healthy democracy calls for conformity to the values of tolerance, patience and respect for others. We have a noisy democracy; yet, we need more and not less of democracy,” he said.
While Mukherjee backed the system of governance, he issued caution against disruptions in Parliament and state assemblies.
Here are some important highlights from his speech of the 68th Republic day:
On being the fastest growing economy
“From last six and a half decades, Indian democracy been an oasis of stability in times of unrest. From a population of 360 million in 1951, we are now a 1.3 billion strong nation. Our per capita income has increased ten-fold, poverty ratio has declined, average life expectancy has more than doubled, and literacy rate has shown a four-fold increase. We are the second largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower, the third largest army, the sixth member of the nuclear club and the tenth largest industrial power.”
Backing the demonetization scheme to an extent, Mukherjee said, “Demonetization may have led to a temporary slowdown of economic activity but as more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy”.
On the flagship initiatives by the government
Addressing the nation, Mukherjee said, “Many government initiatives are launched to promote the well-being of the society. Initiatives like Swachh Bharat, MGNREGA, Digital India, Start-up India, Atal Innovation Mission will foster innovation and new-age entrepreneurship.”
On the need of better democracy
“We have a noisy democracy. Yet, we need more and not less of democracy. Collective efforts must be made to bring the focus back to debate, discussion and decision-making.”
On bettering the system of governance
“As we celebrate sixty-eighth republic year, we must acknowledge that our systems are not perfect. The imperfections have to be recognized and rectified. The settled complacencies have to be questioned.”
He concluded the speech by asking the government and the citizens to work harder to meet the aspirations each of us hold for our country in our eyes.
“In a competitive world, we have to work harder than ever to redeem the promises that we make to our people.
We have to work harder because our war on poverty is not yet over.
We have to work harder to provide food security to our people.
We have to work harder to provide employment opportunities to our youth.
We have to work harder to provide security to our women and children.
We have to work harder to change our consumption pattern which has resulted in environmental and ecological degradation.
We have to work harder because our pluralistic culture and tolerance are still being put to test.
We have to work harder to keep away the dark forces of terrorism.
We have to work harder to ensure the well-being of our soldiers who protect us from internal and external threats.
We have to work harder because;
We are all equal children before our mother;
And our motherland asks each of us in whatever role we play;
To do our duty;
With integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty;
To the values enshrined in our Constitution.