New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday addressed the nation ahead of India’s 74th Republic Day. In her maiden speech, the President highlighted India’s fight-back against the adversities that came along with Covid-19 and patted the back of the Union government and its policies that helped the country recover faster than many other nations. She also mentioned India’s achievements in space, technology and medicine and said, "Even as we reach out to the stars, we keep our feet on the ground."
The President lauded the contribution of the farmers, workers, soldiers, police, paramilitary forces, health care experts, scientists, engineers to nation-building and mentioned that India’s G-20 presidency is a great opportunity to promote democracy and multilateralism at the global level.
"One more year has gone by for the Republic and another year commences. It has been a time of unprecedented change. With the outbreak of the pandemic, the world had changed within a matter of days. During these three years, whenever we have felt that we have finally put the virus behind us, it raises its ugly head. However, there is no need to panic because we have learned in this period that our leadership, our scientists and doctors, our administrators and our "Corona Warriors" will make every possible effort to meet any situation. At the same time, each of us has also learned to not let our guard down and remain alert," said Ms Murmu.
The President also mentioned the government schemes that helped India on the road to recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Last year, India became the fifth largest economy in the world. It needs to be underlined that this achievement comes against the backdrop of high economic uncertainties around the world. The pandemic has entered the fourth year, affecting economic growth in most parts of the world. In its initial phase, Covid-19 also hurt India’s economy badly. Yet, guided by our able leadership and driven by our resilience, we soon came out of the downturn and resumed the growth saga. Most sectors of the economy have shaken off the pandemic effect. India has been among the fastest-growing major economies. This has been made possible by timely and proactive interventions from the government. The ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, in particular, has evoked great response among people at large. There have also been sector-specific incentive schemes," said the President.
The President underlined schemes like "Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana" that ensured food security for poor families. "Because of this help, no one had to go hungry…," said Ms Murmu.
The President mentioned the reforms undertaken by the government to prevent the Indian economy from tumbling and said, "With the economy on a sound footing, we have been able to begin and carry forward a series of praiseworthy initiatives. The ultimate goal is to create an environment in which all citizens can, individually and collectively, realise their true potential and prosper."
She talked about the new National Education Policy, which has "introduced ambitious changes". She mentioned the gains India has made in digital technology and how, during the early days of Covid-19, it was realised that technology offers life-changing possibilities.
Talking about India’s space missions, she said the country has been among the handful of pioneers in space technology and as long-pending reforms in this sector are underway, private enterprises are now invited to join the quest. She underlined how India’s Mars mission was powered by a team of extraordinary women of the country. Women empowerment and gender equality, according to the President, are no longer mere slogans, as women’s representation has been rising in every sphere of activity.
"As a result of a series of initiatives in recent years to transform all aspects of governance and unleash the creative energies of people, the world has started to look at India with a new sense of respect. Our interventions in various world forums have started making a positive difference. The respect that India has earned on the world stage has resulted in new opportunities as well as responsibilities," said Ms Murmu.