1I pay my tribute to the brave soldiers and security personnel who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in defending India’s territorial integrity and maintaining law and order.
2When India attained freedom on 15th August 1947, we did not have an instrument of governance of our own. We waited till 26th January, 1950 when the Indian people gave to themselves a Constitution to secure for all its citizens, justice, liberty, equality, and gender and economic equity.
3The faith and commitment of people gave life to our Constitution and our founding fathers, wisely and carefully, steered the new nation past its troubles of being a poor economy with huge regional imbalances and a vast citizenry deprived of even basic necessities.
4From a population of 360 million in 1951, we are now a 1.3 billion strong nation.
5We are today the fastest growing amongst the major economies of the world. We are the second largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower, the third largest army, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the sixth member in the race for space, and the tenth largest industrial power.
6The journey so far has been eventful, sometimes painful, but most of the times, exhilarating.
7Demonetization, while immobilizing black money and fighting corruption, may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity. As more and more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy.
8Youth today are brimming with hope and aspirations. They pursue their life goals, which they perceive will bring them fame, success and happiness, with single-minded devotion.
9Happiness is fundamental to the human experience of life. Happiness is equally the outcome of economic and non-economic parameters. The quest for happiness is closely tied to sustainable development, which combines human well-being, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. We must make happiness and well-being of our people as the touchstones of public policy.
10The Digital India programme is creating a knowledge economy through universal provision of digital infrastructure and platforms for cashless economic transactions.
11It is my firm conviction that India’s pluralism and her social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity are our greatest strength.
12We have a noisy democracy. Yet, we need more and not less of democracy. The strength of our democracy is evidenced by the fact that over 66 percent of the total electorate of 834 million voted in the 2014 General Elections.
13As our Republic enters her sixty-eighth year, we must acknowledge that our systems are not perfect. The imperfections have to be recognized and rectified.
14We have to work harder to provide safety and security to our women and children. Women must be able to lead their lives with honour and dignity. Children must be able to enjoy their childhood to the fullest.
15We have to work harder because; We are all equal children before our mother; And our motherland asks each of us in whatever role we play; To do our duty; With integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty; To the values enshrined in our Constitution.
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