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President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the nation on the eve of a day marking India’s 75 years of freedom, being celebrated as the start of an auspicious phase, did well to lay emphasis on both our emergence as an economy and on inclusion as a promise by which we measure progress. “The country’s growth is becoming more inclusive and regional disparities, too, are reducing," she said, outlining the advances we have made on gender parity. We have indeed come a long way on many substantive parameters that add up to spell significant potential.

Yet, the challenges that confront us on inclusive growth remain steep. Deep caste inequities still haunt us that could mar the story of India’s rise. On 20 July, a schoolboy in Rajasthan, a nine-year-old who happened to be Dalit, was beaten so badly for touching a pot of water meant to satisfy upper-caste thirst, as reported, that he lost his life as a result. Reports of atrocities motivated by age-old notions of exclusion are a reminder that too many lives remain unfree, bound by attitudes we pledged to wipe away. While we clearly have much to be proud of and look forward to, we must not let down our vigil on liberty for all.

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