Confident that changes in Kashmir will benefit people: President

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New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday expressed confidence that the government’s moves on Kashmir would be of “immense benefit” to the people of J&K and Ladakh and enable them to access the same rights and privileges as the rest of the country.
The President also delivered a key message against intolerance and hate-mongering, underlining that India has always lived by the organising principle of live and let live.
In the first Parliament session of the new Lok Sabha, the government brought a resolution to scrap Article 370 and split the state into two union territories, J&K and Ladakh. The controversial Article 370 was scrapped by a presidential order signed by Kovind. “I believe the recent changes carried out in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will be immensely beneficial for the citizens of the region,” Kovind said.
The President added that these changes would enable the J&K people to enjoy rights, privileges and facilities on a par with the rest of the country. “These include progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to the Right to Education; accessing public information through the Right to Information; reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities,” he said.
He added that the triple talaq law would bring “justice for our daughters by abolishing unequal practices”.
In a short but important speech, Kovind said “people should have the same expectations from and regard for fellow citizens as we would expect them to have from and for us”.
He underlined that through the centuries, “India has rarely been a judgmental society. Rather, it has had an easy-going, live-and-let-live organising principle. We respect each other’s identity – whether born of region, language or faith; or even the absence of faith. 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 ideas of others,” he said.
The speech assumes significance as caste violence has been reported in the past three months from across India, including Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
The speech also touched on the need for better infrastructure to improve the lives of the people and economic growth. He urged the government to build financial infrastructure in the form of a transparent and inclusive banking system, an online-friendly tax system and easier access to capital for legitimate entrepreneurs.
“The government can build physical infrastructure in the form of housing for the poorest of the poor, and availability of energy, toilets and water in every home. The government can build institutional infrastructure to address the paradox of floods and calamities in some parts of the country, and water scarcity in other parts,” he said.
The President congratulated lawmakers for a productive parliament session and said it is important as “the elected must be equal to the trust placed in them by their electors” and also because nation building should be a continuous process.

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