President Mukherjee addresses the nation, stresses to combat terrorism

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee addressed the nation today on the eve of 68th Republic Day. The address was broadcasted at 7 pm in the entire national network of All India Radio (AIR) and telecast over all channels of Doordarshan in English followed by Hindi versions. In his Republic Day address last year, President Mukherjee had highlighted various government schemes like Make in India, Jan Dhan Yojna and Digital India Programme among others. Mr Mukherjee had also stressed on the need to combat terrorism. Calling it “war beyond any doctrine”, he had said this is a “cancer which must be operated out with a firm scalpel. There is no good or bad terrorism; it is pure evil.” This year on Republic Day, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan would be the chief guest. He arrived in Delhi on Tuesday with a delegation of businessmen from United Arab Emirates. To show solidarity with India, Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, would light up tonight in tri-colours – saffron, white and green – to mark India’s Republic Day.

Here are the live updates on Pranab Mukherjee’s speech on Republic Day eve:
On the eve of the 68th Republic Day of our nation, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad
My special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces and Internal Security Forces
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 the Indian people gave to themselves a Constitution
We promised to promote fraternity, dignity of the individual, and unity and integrity of the nation
On that day, we became the largest democracy of the world
Indian democracy has been an oasis of stability in the region troubled by unrest
We are today the fastest growing amongst the major economies of the world
We are the 2nd largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower, 3rd largest army, 6th member of the nuclear club
We are 6th member in the race for space and 10th largest industrial power
From a net food grains importing country, India is now a leading exporter of food commodities
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
Evolutionary and incremental growth will have to accommodate rapid disruptions brought in by advances of science and tech
Innovation, more so inclusive innovation, will have to become a way of life
Education will have to keep pace with technology
In the race between man and machine, the winner will have to be job generation
The velocity of technology adoption will call for a workforce that is willing to learn and adapt
Our education system will have to join hands with innovation to prepare our youth for life-long learning
Our economy has been performing well despite the challenging global economic conditions
Though our exports are yet to pick up, we have managed a stable external sector with sizeable foreign exchange reserves
Demonetization, while immobilizing black money may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity
As more and more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy
Born in independent India, three generations of citizens do not carry the baggage of colonial past
These generations have had privilege of acquiring education, pursuing opportunities & chasing dreams in a free nation
This sometimes makes it easy for them to take freedom for granted
Democracy has conferred rights on each one of us; but along with these rights, come responsibilities
Youth today are brimming with hope and aspirations
Lack of opportunities leads to frustration and unhappiness
This has to be dealt with by inculcating pro-social behaviour
Happiness is fundamental to the human experience of life
Happiness is equally the outcome of economic and non-economic parameters
The quest for happiness is closely tied to sustainable development
We must make happiness and well-being of our people as the touchstones of public policy
Many of the flagship initiatives of the government have been designed to promote the well-being of the society
India’s pluralism and her social, cultural, linguistic & 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
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
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