Screengrab from the video of the speech of President of India

New Delhi: Addressing India on the eve of the 74th Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said celebrations this year will be restrained owing to the coronavirus pandemic which has “altered the world we live in.”

The Covid-19 pandemic dominated President Kovind’s address.

The President praised the role of the Corona warriors while saying that an “invisible virus has changed our lives”.

“The nation is indebted to the doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of our fight against Covid-19. Unfortunately, many of them have lost their lives battling the pandemic. They are our national heroes,” said President Kovind.

President Kovind called the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya a “moment of pride for all” and said the National Education Policy 2020 will “strengthen the culture of ‘Inclusion’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Institution’ in the sphere of education.”

The President also spoke on the Galwan Valley face-off in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed fighting the Chinese army in June this year. “Our brave soldiers laid down their lives defending our borders. Those worthy sons of Bharat Mata lived and died for national pride. Their bravery in combat has demonstrated that while we believe in peace, we are also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression,” he said.

He also praised the government’s role in providing free ration to crores of people during the pandemic, besides lauding the initiative to bring back scores of Indians stuck on foreign shores owing to the Covid-induced lockdown. He also praised the government’s role in helping thousands of migrants reach their respective hometowns.

“By introducing the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana’, the government has enabled crores of people to earn their livelihood, and mitigate the impact of job-loss, dislocation and disruption caused by the pandemic,” said the President.

The President began his speech by remembering Mahatma Gandhi. “We are fortunate that Mahatma Gandhi became the guiding light of our freedom movement. His quest for equality and justice is the mantra for our Republic. I am glad to see the younger generations re-discover Gandhiji,” he said.

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