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Don’t let the guard down against Covid: President Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind in his address on the eve of Independence Day asked people to guard against Covid

Addressing the nation on the eve of 75th Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said that the coronavirus is still here and has not gone away and one must not let the guard down.

Noting that the vaccine is the best possible protection, he said, "We are yet to come out of the devastating effects of its recurrence this year. Last year, with exceptional efforts from all, we had succeeded in bringing the spread of infections under control. Our scientists had succeeded in developing vaccines in a very short time."

He also said that at the beginning of this year, the largest vaccination exercise in the history of the world was launched, urging the people to get vaccinated.

Referring to the Covid second wave, the President said, efforts were made on war-footing to plug the gaps while the leadership rose to the challenge, and the government's endeavours were supplemented by initiatives of the states, private sector healthcare facilities, the civil society and others. "In this extraordinary mission, foreign nations shared the essentials generously, just as India had reached out to many nations with medicine, equipment and vaccines. I am grateful to the global fraternity that came forward with a helping hand", he said.

Talking about the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, he made references to the stellar performances of Indian sportspersons. India has won the highest number of medals in the 121 years of its participation in the Olympics. He said, "Our daughters have achieved world class excellence in playgrounds overcoming many adversities. Along with sports, epoch-making changes are taking place in the participation and success of women in all walks of life. From higher educational institutions to armed forces, from laboratories to playgrounds, our daughters are making their mark. In this success of our daughters, I see a glimpse of a developed India of the future", Kovind said.

"Independence Day is a festival of freedom for us. This was made possible by generations of freedom fighters; some known, many unknown. They made great sacrifices. Today, you and I breathe under free skies thanks to their heroic deeds. I bow in respect to the pious memory of those brave martyrs", he further said.

He also said that our nationalist movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi, was based on the principles of truth and non-violence. He and all other national heroes provided us with an invaluable blueprint to not only liberate the nation from colonial rule, but also to rebuild it and his struggle was for a return to Indian ethos and for human dignity, Kovind added.

We have adopted the system of parliamentary democracy. Therefore, our Parliament is the temple of our democracy which provides us with the highest forum where we discuss, debate and decide issues for the well-being of our people. It is a matter of great pride for all Indians that our Parliament will soon be housed in a new building. It will be a fitting statement of our outlook: It will honour our legacy while also walking in step with the contemporary world. It is more than symbolic that the new building will be inaugurated in the year of the 75th anniversary of Independence.

Referring to the Gaganyan Mission, he said that pilots of the Indian Air Force have been receiving training abroad. When they fly off into space, India will become only the fourth nation on the planet to carry out a manned space mission. "I congratulate all of you, on the eve of India's 75th Independence Day. While celebrating this anniversary, I cannot stop my mind from imagining a powerful, prosperous and peaceful India of 2047 when we will celebrate 100 years of our independence", Kovind concluded.