J&K residents will now enjoy rights, privileges like fellow citizens: Prez

Prsident Ram Nath Kovind addressing the Nation on the eve of 73rd Independence Day in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Prsident Ram Nath Kovind addressing the Nation on the eve of 73rd Independence Day in New Delhi on Wednesday.

‘People of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh will immensely benefit’
Women will live life free of fear

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 14: President Ram Nath Kovind said today that Central Government’s latest moves on Jammu and Kashmir will immensely benefit the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh as they will now enjoy same rights, privileges and facilities like their fellow citizens in rest of the country.
In his Independence Day address to the nation, the President made special mention of the recent scrapping of special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir by the Central Government and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories including Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Kovind expressed confidence that abrogation of provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories will be of “immense benefit” to the people of those regions (including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh).
“Changes made in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh recently will enable the people to access and enjoy the same rights, same facilities and save privileges at par with other citizens in rest of the country,” Kovind said in an apparent reference to scrapping of the Articles 370 and 35-A, which will bring people of the State at par with other parts of the country.
Kovind said. “Education for all children, access to public information, schemes for the rest of India and reservations in jobs and education for disadvantaged sections will benefit the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Moreover, the President said, the women there will be able to live a life free of fear after the abolishment of triple talaq.
Kovind said the changes made in Jammu and Kashmir will also give access to the people there to progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to Right to Education, public information through the Right to Information, reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities.
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,” the President said.
The President said the recent enactment of new laws and amendments to existing ones will also be beneficial to people of Jammu and Kashmir, adding the law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence will deliver justice for “our daughters”.
The Modi Government announced on August 5 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 including Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, a far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of protracted militancy.
The measures later secured Parliament’s approval. The two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will come into existence on October 31.
Kovind also underlined the need for the Government to build financial infrastructure in the form of a transparent, inclusive banking system, an online friendly tax system and easier access to capital for legitimate entrepreneurs.
The President observed that India has rarely been a judgmental society and rather it has had an “easy-going, live-and-let-live organizing 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.”
Kovind said he was confident 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.
PTI adds:- Complimenting people for taking part in the 17th general elections in April-May, Kovind said every election marks a new beginning and every election is the renewal of India’s collective hope and optimism.
Referring to the recently concluded session of Parliament which recorded lengthy and productive sittings, the President 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.
The President also spoke about how state and society, Government and citizen, must see and cooperate with each other.
Kovind said the baton building is about creating that optimal partnership between voters and their representatives, between citizens and their Government, and between civil society and state.
“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 as the President, he travelled all over the country, to diverse States and regions, and meet citizens from all walks of life.
“Indians can be very different in their tastes and habits, but Indians share the same dreams. Before 1947, the dreams were for a free India. Today, the dreams are for accelerated development; for effective and transparent governance; and yet for a smaller footprint of Government in our everyday lives,” he said.
The President said fulfilling these dreams is essential and any reading of the mandate of the people would make their aspirations clear. “And while the Government inevitably has its part to play, I would argue that the greater opportunity and ability lies in the skill, talent, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship of 1.3 billion Indians.”
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.