The President expressed pride at the unmatched resolve the country had shown against Covid-19

India is better placed today to meet the challenges of the future, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Tuesday.

Addressing the nation on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day, President Kovind also expressed pride at the unmatched resolve the country had shown against Covid-19.

During his address, he recalled the important role played by the founders of India’s Constitution and praised the bravery of the soldiers protecting the country’s borders.

Here are some highlights from President Ram Nath Kovind’s Republic Day address

* I am proud to say that we have shown an unmatched resolve against the corona virus. In the first year itself, we raised the healthcare infrastructure and also reached out to help others. By the second year, we had developed indigenous vaccines and launched the world’s biggest vaccination drive in history. The vaccination drive is progressing at a quick pace in our country. During the pandemic, we have reached out to several other countries with vaccines and other medical help.

* The time of social distancing has brought us close to each other. We have realised how much we depend on each other. Doctors, nurses and paramedics have risen to the challenge, working long hours in difficult conditions even at the risk of their lives to attend to patients. Others have kept the nation moving, managing supply chains and utilities. The leadership, policy-makers, administrators and others at the central and state levels have made timely interventions.

* The diversity and vibrancy of our democracy is appreciated world-wide. It is this spirit of unity and of being one nation which is celebrated every year as Republic Day. This year’s celebrations may be muted due to the pandemic, but the spirit is as strong as ever.

* We are immensely fortunate that the Constituent Assembly which prepared the document included some of the best minds of their generation. They were the leading lights of our great Freedom Struggle. After long years, the soul of India was re-awakening, and these exceptional men and women were the harbingers of a new dawn.

* Rights and duties are two sides of the same coin. The observance of the Fundamental Duties mentioned in the Constitution by the citizens creates the proper environment for enjoyment of Fundamental Rights. By fulfilling the fundamental duty of rendering national service when called upon to do so, crores of our people have transformed the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the COVID vaccination drive into mass movements.

* As the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, I am glad to note that it has been a water-shed year for women empowerment in the Armed Forces. Our daughters have broken a glass ceiling, and permanent commission has now been allowed for women officers in new areas. Also, the talent pipeline for the forces will be strengthened with women coming through Sainik Schools and the prestigious National Defence Academy. Consequently, our Armed Forces will benefit from better gender balance.

* Today, it is our soldiers and security personnel who carry on the legacy of national pride. In the unbearable cold of the Himalayas and in the excruciating heat of the desert, far away from their families, they continue to guard the motherland.

* I am confident that India is better placed today to meet the challenges of the future. The twenty-first century is turning out to be the age of climate change, and India has taken a leadership position on the world stage in showing the way, especially with its bold and ambitious push for renewable energy.

* India is an ancient civilisation but a young republic. For us, nation-building is a constant endeavour. As in a family, so in a nation; one generation works hard to ensure a better future for the next generation. When we won independence, the exploitation of colonial rule had left us in utter poverty, but in seventy-five years, we have made impressive progress. New opportunities await the next generation.

* This year, India will cross a milestone when it completes 75 years of Independence. We are celebrating this occasion as ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. It is heartening to note that our people, especially youngsters, are participating enthusiastically in a variety of events and programmes organised to commemorate the landmark year. It is a great opportunity for not only the next generation but all of us to re-connect with our past.