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People of J&K, Ladakh to Benefit from Revocation of Special Status, Says President Kovind on Eve of I-Day

The law “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”, Kovind said in his address to the nation on the eve of the 73rd Independence Day.

News18.com

Updated:August 14, 2019, 11:15 PM IST
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People of J&K, Ladakh to Benefit from Revocation of Special Status, Says President Kovind on Eve of I-Day
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the nation on the eve of the 73rd Independence Day, from the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019. (PTI)
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New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday expressed confidence that the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will benefit from the abrogation of Article 370 and the division of the state into two Union Territories.

The law “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”, Kovind said in his address to the nation on the eve of the 73rd Independence Day.

Kovind especially mentioned the Right to Information (RTI) and the Right to Education statutes that were earlier not applicable to the state due to its special status. This had empowered the state to enact its own laws, except on issues pertaining to defence, post and telegraph, railways, and external affairs.

The Narendra Modi government on August 5 announced the removal of some provisions of Article 370 to take away Jammu and Kashmir's special status and proposed bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh -- a far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted militancy.

The measures later secured the Parliament's approval and the two Union Territories will come into existence on October 31. Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Kovind underscored the need to strike a balance between environment protection and the country’s developmental needs.

“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," he said.

Kovind made a reference to the changes in Jammu and Kashmir while recalling that the illustrious generation that led us to freedom did not perceive Independence only in terms of transfer of political power.

"They considered it a stepping stone in a longer and larger process of nation building and national welding. Their objective was to improve the life of each individual, each family and society as a whole."

Kovind said the recent enactment of new laws and amendments to the existing ones will also be beneficial to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, adding the law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence will deliver justice for "our daughters".

"These include progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to the Right to Education; accessing public information through the Right to Information; reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities; and justice for our daughters by abolishing unequal practices such as instant triple talaq," he said.

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

Kovind observed that India has rarely been a judgemental society and rather 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," he said.

The President said he was confident that 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 the people for taking part in the 17th Lok Sabha elections, Kovind said that every election marks a new beginning and is the renewal of India's collective hope and optimism.

Referring to the recently concluded session of Parliament that recorded lengthy and productive sittings, Kovind 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.

Kovind also spoke about how state and society, government and citizens must cooperate with each other.

“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 contemporary India is very different from the India in which Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked.

"Even so, Gandhiji remains extremely relevant. In his advocacy of sustainability, ecological sensitivity and living in harmony with nature, he anticipated pressing challenges of our times. 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," he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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