NEW DELHI -- President Ram Nath Kovind today pitched for a partnership between citizens and the government to create a New India by 2022 that is a "compassionate society" and includes the "humanist component integral to the nation's DNA".
In his maiden address to the Nation on the eve of 71st Independence Day, Kovind remembered the role of leaders of Independence struggle including Jawaharlal Nehru.
He said the generation that brought us to freedom was diverse which included men and women from all parts of the country and a variety of "political and social thought".
Asking people to draw inspiration from freedom fighters, Kovind said there was a need to invoke the same spirit today for nation building.
"The stress on the moral basis of policy and action, belief in unity and discipline, faith in a synthesis of heritage and science, and promotion of the rule of law and of education all of it is located in a partnership between citizen and government," he said.
Kovind said that is how India has been built--by a partnership between citizen and government, between individual and society, between a family and the wider community.
"Today, in big cities we may not even know our neighbours. Whether in cities or villages, it is important to renew that sense of caring and sharing. This will make us a gentler and happier society and help us understand each other with greater empathy," he said.
Kovind said this spirit of empathy and of social service and volunteerism is very much alive in India.
"There are so many people and organisations that work quietly and diligently for the poor and the disadvantaged.
We should also work with unity and purpose to ensure that the benefits of government policies reach all sections of society," he said.
He said partnership between citizens with government remains crucial to the success of several flagship announcements of the Narendra Modi government like voluntarily giving up LPG subsidy, demonetisation, introduction of GST besides schemes like 'beti bacaho beti padhao', 'Swachh Bharat' among others.
"I am happy that the transition to the GST system has been smooth. It should be a matter of pride for all of us that the taxes we pay are used for nation building--to help the poor and the marginalised, to build rural and urban infrastructure, and to strengthen our border defences," he said.
The President said in the year 2022, the country will complete 75 years of Independence and "it is our national resolve to attain certain desired milestones for a New India by then".
He said a New India means some obvious parameters like a house for every family, power on demand, better roads and telecom, a modern railway network, rapid and sustained growth.
"And yet there is more. New India must include that integral humanist component that is in our DNA, and which has defined our country and our civilisation. New India must be a society rushing towards the future, but also a compassionate society," Kovind said.
He said it is only with all this that we will build the New India we can cherish where every Indian is equipped to fulfil his or her potential and do so in a manner that leaves each one of us content and happy.
"I am confident that a strong partnership between citizens and the government will allow us to meet the goals of New India," he said.
Kovind lauded "immense patience and understanding" of the citizens in the days following demonetisation and "whole- hearted support" in the battle against corruption and black money. He said it reflected a responsible and enlightened society.
"Demonetisation has boosted our efforts to build an honest society. We must sustain this spirit and this momentum," he said.
Appreciating the families which gave away LPG subsidy, Kovind said, "Each of us must find a way to give back to society. Each of us must choose one thing we can do to help another, less fortunate Indian".
The single most critical factor for building our nation is to equip our coming generation. We need to ensure that not one child is left behind. As such I would urge you, as fellow nation builders, to help educate underprivileged children in our society, he said.
The President urged people to help at least one child other than their own get educated by enrolling in school, paying their fees and buying them books.