President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday addressed the country on the eve of Independence Day. This was Kovind’s first speech since he took over as the president on July 25.

Here are the highlights of Kovind’s speech:

  • I congratulate the country on 70 years of Independence.
  • We are indebted to those who laid down there lives for our Independence.
  • It is time that we take inspiration from those soldiers and freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the nation.
  • On August 15, 1947 when we became a free nation, it was referred to as a “transfer of power”. It was more than that, it was the culmination of a dream for out country. We were free to imagine and build out nation anew.
  • It was understood that the dream for a free India meant the overall development of our country and its villages.
  • All citizens should come together to build the country. Each one of us should make sure that those in need should benefit from the government’s schemes.
  • It is important to realise the sense of caring and sharing in cities and villages, which will make us a gentler and happy society.
  • The Centre had launched the Swachh Bharat initiative, however, it is not just the government’s responsibility to keep the country clean, but everyone has to participate.
  • The government is building toilets, however, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure India is open-defecation free.
  • The government’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao initiative should be taken forward by everyone and it should be ensured that women are not discriminated against in any manner.
  • It should be our national resolution to achieve important goals and make a “New India” before the country celebrates 75 years of Independence in 2022.
  • The government can make, implement and strengthen laws, but it is everyone’s duty to abide by them.
  • The government has implemented the Goods and Services Tax to eliminate multiple taxes and to simplify transactions. It is important for every one of us to make GST a part of our everyday transactions and business culture. It is the responsibility of each one of us to promote a sense of pride in paying taxes.
  • Demonetisation boosted our efforts to build an honest society. 
  • New India will have a houses for everyone, better roads, telecom and modern railway network.
  • The idea of New India should find a place in our DNA, it should be a society which develops rapidly but is also sensitive. 
  • We must be selfless, besides fulfilling out duties. The soldiers guarding the border are not only doing their duty, but are also displaying an extra degree of selflessness.   
  • Up on an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than one crore families gave up their LPG subsidies and I salute them. The government or law did not force them to do so, they listened to the conscience.
  • We should build a better future for the next generation. I urge everyone to help educate at least one underprivileged child in our society. 
  • In a few years India will become a fully literate society.  We must aim to become a fully educated society.    
  • India is at door of great achievements. 

Kovind, who was fielded for the top post by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance had defeated the Opposition’s candidate Meira Kumar in the presidential election on July 17.