NEW DELHI: President Droupadi Murmu, in her first Republic Day-eve speech, hailed India's G-20 presidency, saying it is an opportunity to promote democracy and multilateralism, and also the right forum for shaping a better world and a better future.
"India holds the presidency of the Group of 20 nations. With our motto of universal brotherhood, we stand for peace and prosperity of all. Thus, the G20 presidency is an opportunity to promote democracy and multilateralism and the right forum for shaping a better world and a better future. Under India's leadership, I am sure, the G20 will be able to further enhance its efforts to build a more equitable and sustainable world order."
She said the ultimate goal is to create an environment in which all citizens can -- individually and collectively, realise their true potential and prosper.
The President also commended the roles of farmers, workers, scientists and engineers in the nation's development and also praised the armed forces and para-military forces.
"I commend the roles of farmers, workers, scientists and engineers whose combined strength enables our country to live up to the spirit of 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan'. I appreciate every citizen who contributes to the nation's progress. I also convey my greetings to our diaspora, the great ambassadors of India's culture and civilisation," she said.
"As education builds the right foundation for this purpose, the National Education Policy has introduced ambitious changes. It rightly addresses the two-fold aims of education: as an instrument of economic and social empowerment and as a means to explore truth. The policy makes our civilisational lessons relevant for contemporary life, while also preparing the learner for the 21st century challenges. The National Education Policy appreciates the role of technology in expanding and deepening the learning process," she said.
President Murmu said the pandemic has entered the fourth year, affecting economic growth in most parts of the world. In its initial phase, Covid-19 also hurt India's economy badly.
"Most sectors of the economy have shaken off the pandemic effect. India has been among the fastest-growing major economies. This has been made possible by timely and pro-active interventions from the government," she said.
Murmu said that by implementing the 'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana' announced in March 2020, the government ensured food security for poor families at a time when the country was facing economic disruption in the wake of the unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19.
"Because of this help, no one had to go hungry. Keeping the welfare of poor families paramount, the duration of this scheme was extended successively, benefiting about 81 crore fellow citizens," she said.
She further said the 'Gaganyaan' programme to carry Indian astronauts into space is under progress.
"This will be India's maiden human space flight. Yet, even as we reach out to the stars, we keep our feet on the ground... and the Mars Mission was powered by a team of extraordinary women, and our sisters and daughters are not far behind in other areas too. Women's empowerment and gender equality are no longer mere slogans, as we have made great progress towards these ideals in recent years," the President said.
She said that to lift more and more people out of poverty, "we need economic growth, but that growth also comes from fossil fuel".