Addressing the nation on the eve of Republic Day, President Pranab Mukherjee paid tribute to soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for the country and said that demonetisation would improve transparency of Indian economy.
On the eve of 68th Republic Day of our nation, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad. I convey my special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Para-military Forces and Internal Security Forces. I pay my tribute to brave soldiers and security personnel who made supreme sacrifice of their lives,” he said.
“When India attained freedom on 15th August 1947, we did not have an instrument of governance of our own. We waited till 26th January, 1950 when Indian people gave to themselves a Constitution. We promised to promote fraternity, dignity of the individual, and unity and integrity of the nation,” he added.
He further said, “From a population of 360 million in 1951, we are now a 1.3 billion strong nation. From a net food grains importing country, India is now a leading exporter of food commodities.”
On the note ban he said, “Demonetization may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity, but it will improve transparency of economy. The journey so far has been eventful, sometimes painful, but most of the times, exhilarating. What has brought us thus far will take us further ahead. But we will have to learn to adjust our sails, quickly and deftly, to the winds of change.”
Pointing out the plurality of India the President said, “India’s pluralism and her social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity are our greatest strength. Our tradition has always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian; not the ‘intolerant’ Indian.”
“Multiple views, thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country. A wise and discerning mind is necessary for democracy to flourish. A healthy democracy calls for conformity to the values of tolerance, patience and respect for others. These values must reside in the hearts and minds of every Indian,” he maintained.
Talking about Indian democracy and its strength, the President said, “We have a noisy democracy, yet, we need more and not less of democracy. Strength of our democracy is evidenced by the fact that over 66% of the total electorate voted in 2014 General Elections. The depth and breadth of our democracy sparkles in the regular elections being held in our panchayati raj institutions.”
Lamenting the disruptions in Parliament, he said, “Our legislatures lose sessions to disruptions when they should be debating and legislating on issues of importance. Collective efforts must be made to bring the focus back to debate, discussion and decision-making. As our Republic enters her sixty-eighth year, we must acknowledge that our systems are not perfect. The imperfections have to be recognized and rectified. The settled complacencies have to be questioned. The edifice of trust has to be strengthened.”