REPUBLIC DAY VIOLENCE UNFORTUNATE: PRESIDENT IN JOINT SESSION ADDRESS - The Daily Guardian
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REPUBLIC DAY VIOLENCE UNFORTUNATE: PRESIDENT IN JOINT SESSION ADDRESS

President Ram Nath Kovind defends the new farm laws, says they were passed in Parliament after extensive deliberations; he also lauds Centre for ‘timely decision’ in ‘saving lakhs of lives’ during the Covid-19 pandemic; 19 Opposition parties led by Congress boycott the address.

Brijesh Pandey & Sabyasachi Roy Chowdhury

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President Ram Nath Kovind denounced the violence which erupted during the farmers’ rally on Republic Day and termed it “unfortunate” while addressing both the houses of Parliament on Friday. He also defended the Centre’s three farm laws.

“The insult of a holy day like the Republic Day and the tricolour is very unfortunate. The Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression and the same Constitution teaches us that law and rules should be followed equally seriously. My government wants to make it clear that before the three new agricultural laws were enacted, there was no reduction in the rights and facilities which were under the old system. Rather, through these agricultural reforms, the government has given new rights to farmers,” said the President.

He said the Centre was working constantly to remove misconceptions related to the farm laws. “After extensive deliberations, Parliament had passed the three important farm laws seven months ago.”

He added, “The need of the hour is that special attention should be paid to small and marginal farmers, who have only one or two hectares of land in the agricultural sector. More than 80% of the farmers in the country numbering over 10 crore fall under this category. My government accords priority to these small and marginal farmers too. In order to provide expenditure support to these farmers, almost Rs 1,13,000 crore have been directly transferred to their bank accounts under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.”

President Kovind also lauded the Central government for its “timely decision”, during the Covid-19 pandemic, “that saved the lives of lakhs of citizens” and pointed out that the number of new coronavirus cases was going down rapidly in the country. “I am satisfied that the timely decision taken by my government saved the lives of lakhs of citizens. Today the number of new Covid cases is going down rapidly. The number of recoveries is very high,” he added.

Commenting upon the vaccination drive against Covid-19, President Kovind said, “It is a matter of pride that India is running the biggest vaccination programme in the world. Both vaccines of this programme are made in India. In this crisis, India shouldered its responsibility towards mankind and provided lakhs of doses of vaccines to several nations.”

Meanwhile, 19 Opposition parties led by the Congress boycotted the President’s address to express solidarity with the protesting farmers. During the address, Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu constantly raised slogans demanding the repeal of the farm laws.

The speech of the President also highlighted the government›s plan and policy vision for the next financial year and some of the work carried out by the government in the past. “For modernizing the country›s infrastructure, my government is also working on the ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline’ worth over Rs 110 lakh crore. Along with this, work on six new expressways and 18 new access-controlled corridors under the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’ is in progress,” he said. “Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, construction of 6.42 lakh km of road network has been completed in rural areas of the country,” he said further. He also spoke of setting up infrastructure for animal husbandry and encouraging investment in the dairy sector.

The President also spoke about the changes in the National Education Policy and highlighted how more than 3 crore 20 lakh students are benefitting from various scholarship schemes of the government. He further mentioned developing modern technology in India and easier access to it for every Indian.

President Kovind also paid his tribute to former President Pranab Mukherjee, six Members of Parliament and other countrymen who lost their lives due to the coronavirus. “Our country has faced every crisis with fortitude, be it the coronavirus pandemic, floods, earthquakes or major cyclones in several states, locust attacks or the bird flu. The nation stood together, battled crises on multiple fronts and surmounted every challenge. During this period, we all have also witnessed the unparalleled courage, endurance, discipline and spirit of service of our countrymen. In this fight against the pandemic, we have also suffered the untimely loss of life of a number of our countrymen,” he said.

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