New Delhi, August 14 (IANS): The Narendra Modi-led government's decision to withdraw special status to Jammu & Kashmir and divide the state into two Union Territories came in for praise from President Ram Nath Kovind during his address to the nation on the eve of India's 73rd Independence Day on Wednesday.
"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 further added that the political changes to the state will enable its people to access and enjoy the same rights, privileges and facilities at 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; and justice for our daughters by abolishing unequal practices such as instant triple talaq," he added.
Kovind also praised political parties cutting across ideological lines for the extended Budget session of the Parliament which enabled the passage of several key bills.
"Happy to note that the recently concluded session of Parliament saw lengthy and productive sittings of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Many important Bills were passed in a spirit of cross-party co-operation and constructive debate. I am confident this is only an indicator of what the coming five years have in store," he said.
The President urged upon 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.
"The government can build connectivity infrastructure in the form of wider, better highways and safer, faster trains; airports in the interiors of our country and ports that dot our coasts. And near universal data access that allows common citizens to benefit from Digital India," he said.
Kovind also stressed upon the need for better infrastructure to improve the economic scenario of India. He further spoke about the importance of universal availability of toilets and availability of household water in empowering the women of India.