India’s presidency of the G20 grouping is a good opportunity to promote democracy and multilateralism, President Droupadi Murmu said on Wednesday in her address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day.
Murmu said that she was certain that under India’s leadership, G20 will “further enhance its efforts to build a more equitable and sustainable world order”.
India assumed the presidency of G20, or Group of 20 countries, on December 1. The presidency of the intergovernmental forum comprising the world’s major developed and developing economies is assumed by member countries on a rotational basis.
In Wednesday’s address, Murmu said that every citizen has reason to be proud of the Indian story.
“In the early years of Independence, we faced countless challenges and adversities,” Murmu said in her first address as president. “Very high levels of poverty and illiteracy were just two of the many ill effects of the long foreign rule. Yet, the spirit of India was undeterred. With hope and confidence, we began an experiment unique in the history of humankind.”
The president said that a vast and diverse multitude of people coming together as one nation remains unprecedented.
“We have succeeded as a democratic republic because so many creeds and so many languages have not divided us, they have only united us,” Murmu said. “That is the essence of India.”
Further, talking about the Constitution, the president pointed out that it has stood the test of time.
She also said the Constitution is inspired by the humanistic philosophy of the oldest living civilisation in the world, as well as new ideas that emerged in recent history.
In her speech, the president also lauded the Central government’s decision to provide free foodgrains during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government ensured food security for poor families at a time when the country was facing economic disruption in the wake of the unprecedented outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Murmu said. “Because of this help, no one had to go hungry.”
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was started in 2020 during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was implemented in seven phases, and was last extended on September 28.
On December 24, the scheme was merged with the National Food Security Act and extended till the end of 2023.
In her address, Murmu also said that women’s empowerment and gender equality are no longer mere slogans in India.
“During my visits to various states, and educational institutions and while meeting delegations of various professionals, I am amazed by the confidence of young women,” the president said. “I have no doubt in my mind that they are the ones who will do the most to shape tomorrow’s India.”