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NEW DELHI : Describing India as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, President Droupadi Murmu said that when the pandemic has uprooted lives and economies, the Indian economy has remained strong and is moving forward.

Addressing the nation ahead of the 76th independence day, the President cited the Indian startup ecosystem and the growing number of unicorns in the country to highlight the country’s economic growth.

“The pandemic has uprooted lives and also economies in the entire world. When the world has been battling the economic consequences of the great crisis, India got its act together and is now moving forward. India is among the fastest growing major economies in the world," she said.

She also said that the government and policymakers deserve credit for beating the global trend and helping the economy flourish. Murmu further observed that during the last few years, unprecedented progress had been made in the development of physical and digital infrastructure.

Through the Pradhan Mantri Gati-Shakti Yojana, all modes of connectivity based on water, land and air are being integrated to enable seamless transportation across the country.

“For the vibrancy of growth visible in our country, credit must also be given to workers and farmers whose hard work has made it possible and entrepreneurs whose business acumen has created wealth. What is all the more heartening is that the growth is becoming more inclusive and regional disparities too are reducing."

She said that a series of economic reforms and policy initiatives have been preparing the ground for long-term growth. Digital India, she said, is creating the bedrock of a knowledge economy and the National Education Policy is aimed at preparing the future generation for the next stage of the industrial revolution while also reconnecting it with the country’s heritage.

The President also said that economic reforms are accompanied by innovative welfare initiatives such as ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’, ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ and the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ scheme.

Noting that the welfare initiatives and schemes aim to provide basic amenities to all, particularly the poor, she said: “The keyword for India today is compassion; for the downtrodden, for the needy and for those on the margins."

Highlighting India’s contribution towards democratic values, the President said that with the adoption of a universal adult franchise and allowing every adult citizen to participate in the collective nation-building process, India helped the world discover “the true potential of democracy".

“When India won independence, there were many international leaders and experts who were sceptical about the success of the democratic form of government in India. They had their reasons to be doubtful. India, after so many years of exploitation at the hands of foreign rulers, was marked by poverty and illiteracy. But we Indians proved the sceptics wrong. Democracy not only grew roots in this soil but it was enriched too."

She also urged every citizen to know about their fundamental duties and follow them in letter and spirit so that the nation reaches new heights.

President Murmu said that gender inequalities are reducing, and women are moving ahead, breaking many glass ceilings. “Their increasing participation in social and political processes will prove decisive. At the grassroots level, we have more than 14 lakh elected women representatives in Panchayati raj institutions."

She also highlighted India’s diversity in her speech said: “Our country is full of diversity. But, at the same time, we all have something in common. It is this common thread which binds all of us together and inspires us to walk together with the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’."

Stressing the need for conservation of water, soil and bio-diversity, she said that India could lead the world in these aspects.

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