India today celebrates its 65th anniversary of the Republic. It is on this day that we gave ourselves a liberal Constitution. Parliamentary democracy, federal structure, a bundle of fundamental rights, judicial review by an independent judiciary are amongst the salient features of that Constitution.
Having witnessed various challenges and having shown great resilience to overcome these challenges, I do believe that we are a strong and vibrant democracy. I have a few areas of concern which lay down an agenda for the future. Poverty continues to be the greatest curse on Indian society. Nearly 30 percent of our population lives below the poverty line. The poor is denied the right to live with dignity. Terrorism and insurgency remain a great threat to India’s sovereignty. The threat of terror is both external and from within. We cannot afford to lower our guard on this score. The quality of politics in India needs to improve. The power of politics is immense. The stature of men who man politics must be in consonance with the huge power that politicians wield. The declining quality of politics reflects itself on issues of governance. India today expects governance which will deliver on problems which confront the society. If India can grow at 9% on average to bad governance, what will be the growth rate if the quality of politics and governance were to improve? India needs to become a more humane and compassionate society. Our concern for women and under privileged must be reflected in our attitudes. Increased offences against women and the brutality of those offences is a scar on our society. It is these and many more challenges that confront us. Let us show our determination to overcome these challenges.