Addressing the nation on the eve of India's 73rd Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said the recent decision by Narendra Modi government to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir into two Union territories would “immensely benefit those regions” and the locals would be able to “enjoy equal rights and facilities” like any other Indian. “I believe the recent changes carried out in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will be immensely beneficial for the citizens of the region,” Kovind said.
The President added that these changes would enable the J&K people to enjoy rights, privileges and facilities on a par with the rest of the country. “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,” he said. On the triple talaq law the President asserted that it would bring “justice for our daughters by abolishing unequal practices”.
He also pointed on the need for better infrastructure or bettering the lives of the people and economic growth. “The government can build physical infrastructure in the form of housing for the poorest of the poor, and availability of energy, toilets and water in every home. The government can build institutional infrastructure to address the paradox of floods and calamities in some parts of the country, and water scarcity in other parts,” he said.
President Kovind went on to appreciate the recently concluded Parliament session calling it one of the most productive sessions, both in terms of time and the bills passed. “Many important bills were passed in a spirit of cross-party co-operation and constructive debate. I am confident this is only an indicator of what the coming five years have in store,” he said. Thirty bills, including the financial legislations that are part of the budget, were cleared by both Houses, the highest in any session in the past decade.
President Kovind also congratulated the voters of the country for participating in the 17th general elections which he described as the largest democratic exercise in human history. “It was now for all of us to work together and take our cherished nation to new heights,” he said.