On the eve of India's 74th Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the nation.
Remembering with gratitude the sacrifices of India's freedom fighters, he said Indians are fortunate to have had Mahatma Gandhi as the guide of the country's freedom struggle.
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Here are the key highlights of President Kovind's speech:
>> The president pointed out that the Independence Day celebrations this year will not be carried out on the usual scale in light of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed the lives of many.
>> He said that through the timely efforts of the Central government, the country has succeeded in containing the spread of the virus and protecting the lives of a large number of people.
>> President Kovind said the nation is indebted to all doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who served as frontline warriors in the fight against the coronavirus. He added that all "corona warriors" deserve high praise; they go much beyond their call of duty to save lives and ensure essential services.
>> Referring to the Amphan cyclone that hit Odisha and West Bengal earlier this year which added to the country's ongoing challenges, he said the concerted efforts of disaster management teams, Central and state agencies as well as vigilant citizens helped minimise the loss of life and property. Floods in the northeastern and eastern states have ravaged the lives and livelihood of people in these regions. Amid such onslaughts of disasters, it is gratifying to see all sections of society coming together to help those in distress, he added.
>> He said the government has provided livelihood to the country's poor through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, a scheme he said helped reduce the pain of job loss during the pandemic. Every month, around 80 crore people received guaranteed ration under this scheme, he added.
>> He also acknowledged the government's Vande Bharat Mission under which over a million Indians have been brought back home.
>> President Ram Nath Kovind also spoke about the Galwan Valley clash between Indian and Chinese troops in June. He said that at a time when the need is to unite and fight against coronavirus that has affected the world, China attempted to carry out its expansionist activities. He paid tribute to the Indian soldiers who laid down their lives for the country in the border clash, adding that India is proud of its armed forces, police and paramilitary forces, which guard the borders and ensure internal security.
>> The overwhelming support India received at the elections for the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council is a testimony to the goodwill the country enjoys internationally, the president noted.