Most sectors of the Indian economy have shaken off effects of COVID-19 which has hurt it badly in the initial phase, President Droupadi Murmu said in her maiden address to the nation on the eve of 74th Republic Day.
“With the outbreak of the pandemic, the world has changed within a matter of days. During these three years, whenever we have felt that we have finally put the virus behind, it raises its ugly head,” she said.
Asking people to not let the guard down and remain alert, the President said “there is no need to panic” because the country has learnt in this period that “our leadership, our scientists and doctors, our administrators and corona warriors” will make every possible effort to meet any situation.
Speaking on the economic front, the President said last year, India became the fifth largest economy in the world.
She underlined that this achievement comes against the backdrop of high economic uncertainties around the world.
“The pandemic has entered the fourth year, affecting economic growth in most parts of the world. In its initial phase, COVID-19 also hurt India’s economy badly. Yet, guided by our able leadership and driven by our resilience, we soon came out of the downturn, and resumed the growth saga,” she said.
The President said most sectors of the economy have shaken off the pandemic effect and the nation has been among the fastest-growing major economies.
“This has been made possible by timely and proactive interventions from the government. The ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, in particular, has evoked great response among people at large. There have also been sector specific incentive schemes,” she said.
The President said those on the margins have also been included in the schemes and programmes and they have been helped in tiding over difficulties.
“By implementing the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana’ announced in March 2020, the government ensured food security for poor families at a time when the country was facing economic disruption in the wake of the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19. Because of this help, no one had to go hungry,” she said.
President Murmu said 81 crore fellow citizens get their monthly ration free of cost under the scheme which has been extended for the year 2023.
“With this historic move, the government has undertaken the responsibility of caring for the weaker sections while also enabling them to benefit from economic development,” she said.
The President said Covid gave a realisation that technology offers life-changing possibilities.
“The Digital India Mission is striving to make information and communication technology inclusive by bridging the rural-urban divide. More and more people in far-flung places have been reaping the benefits of internet and are receiving a variety of services provided by the government, as the infrastructure expands,” she said.
The President lauded recent space exploration programmes such as Gaganyaan and Mars mission.
“India has been among the handful of pioneers in space technology. As long pending reforms in this sector are underway, private enterprises are now invited to join the quest,” she said.
Cheering the role of women scientists in the Mars mission, President Murmu said women’s empowerment and gender equality are no longer mere slogans, as “we have made great progress towards these ideals” in recent years.
“With people’s participation in the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, women’s representation has been rising in every sphere of activity. During my visits to various states, educational institutions and while meeting delegations of various professionals, I am amazed by the confidence of young women. I have no doubt in my mind that they are the ones who will do most to shape tomorrow’s India,” she said.
The President said the same vision of empowerment guides the government’s approach to the marginalised communities including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
“In fact, the aim is not only to remove hurdles and help them in development, but also to learn from them. Tribal communities, in particular, have rich lessons to offer in many areas, ranging from protecting the environment to making the society more cohesive,” she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)