President Droupadi Murmu addresses India on 75th Republic Day
By PRESIDENT DROUPADI MURMU
My Dear Fellow Citizens,
My heartiest greetings to all of you on the eve of the 75th Republic Day! My heart is filled with pride when I look back and see how far we have travelled despite adversities. The 75th year of the Republic is truly a historic milestone in the journey of the nation in many ways.
This is an especially festive occasion, just as we celebrated the unique greatness and diverse culture of our nation during the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, when we completed 75 years of Independence.
Tomorrow is the day when we celebrate the commencement of the Constitution. Its Preamble begins with the words “We, the People of India”, highlighting the theme of the document, namely, democracy. In India, democratic system is much older than the concept of western democracy.
That is the reason why India is called the “mother of democracy”. After a long and difficult struggle, on 15th August, 1947, India became free from foreign rule. Yet, the task of framing the principles and processes that would govern the country and unleash its true potential was still a work in progress.
The Constituent Assembly spent nearly three years holding detailed discussions on all aspects of governance and produced the great founding document of our nation, the Constitution of India. Today, the nation gratefully remembers the leaders as well as the officials who contributed to the framing of our splendid and inspiring Constitution.
India is moving ahead with confidence, which comes from and is also reflected by the robust health of the economy. Our GDP growth rate has remained the highest among major economies in recent years, and we have all reasons to believe that this extraordinary performance will continue in the year 2024 and beyond.
What I find particularly noteworthy is that the same farsighted planning that fuels the economy has also given a push to the welfare drive to make the development inclusive in every sense of the term. The government had increased the scope of schemes to provide free food to the weaker sections of society during the pandemic days.
These measures were later continued to extend a helping hand to the vulnerable population to come out of that crisis. Expanding the scope of that initiative, the government has decided to provide free food grains to over 81 crore people for five years.
This may be the biggest welfare initiative of its kind in history. Moreover, there have been a number of mission-mode schemes to increase the ease of living for all citizens. From the availability of safe and adequate drinking water at home to the security of having one’s own home, these are basic minimum requirements, not privileges.
These matters are beyond any political or economic ideology and must be seen from a humanitarian perspective. The government has not only expanded and enhanced the welfare schemes, but it has also redefined the idea of welfare itself. It will be a proud day for us all when India becomes one of those few countries where homelessness is a rarity.
Tech in lives
The period of Amrit Kaal is also going to be the period of unprecedented technological changes. Technological advances like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning have moved from headlines into our daily lives at a breathtaking speed. There are numerous areas of concern in the foreseeable future, but there are also exciting opportunities ahead, especially for the youth.
They are exploring new frontiers. We need to do all we can to remove hurdles from their path and let them unleash their full potential. What they want is equality of opportunity. What they want is not the same old rhetoric of equality, but the realisation of our cherished ideal of equality. It is, after all, their confidence that is building the India of tomorrow.
Moreover, the mind of the youth is shaped by teachers, who are the real architects of the nation’s future. I would also like to make a thankful mention of our farmers and labourers who toil silently and make a mighty contribution to creating a better future for the nation.
On the eve of this auspicious occasion, India also gratefully salutes the members of our Armed Forces, Police and Para-military Forces, without whose valour and vigil we would not have scaled the great heights we have.
Before I conclude, let me offer my greetings to the members of the judiciary and civil services. My Republic Day greetings to the officials of India’s missions abroad and the diaspora community! Let us all dedicate ourselves to serve the nation and fellow citizens in every way we can. My best wishes to all of you in this endeavour.