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Government will abide by Supreme Court order on farm laws: President Kovind

Police using tear gas to disperse farmers attempting to break barricades as they try to march from Tikri Border towards Peeragarhi during the farmers tractors rally (Kisan Gantantra Parade) amid the 72nd Republic Day celebrations, at Nangloi in New Delhi on Tuesday, 26, 2021.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The Union Government respects the Supreme Court and will abide by its decision to stay the implementation of the three farm laws, President Ram Nath Kovind told a joint sitting of Parliament on Friday, even as he strongly defended the new laws and asserted that 10 crore small farmers have benefited from them.

 

Referring to the violence during the tractor parade and after groups of farmers stormed the Red Fort on January 26, the President said it was “unfortunate” that the national flag was disrespected on the occasion of Republic Day.

 

“My government has always respected freedom of expression and holding of peaceful agitations in a democratic set up. However, the recent acts of dishonouring the National Flag and showing disrespect to the auspicious occasion of the Republic Day are unfortunate,” Mr Kovind said.

 

“While the Constitution gives us the right to freedom of expression, it is also expected that we abide by the laws and rules with equal sincerity,” the President said.

After consultations

The President asserted that the farm laws were brought in after extensive consultations and different political parties, at different points of time, thought of effecting these changes.

 

He said these laws do not take away any rights and facilities that are available under the existing system; rather the laws have “provided new facilities to the farmers and has empowered them".

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues were seen thumping their desks when the President referred to the benefits of the farm laws.

 

Without naming China, the President also referred to the unprecedented escalation of tensions in the borders, informed about deploying additional troops on the borders and paid homage to the 20 soldiers who made supreme sacrifices in a violent face-off clash with Chinese troops at the Galwan valley (Easten Ladakh) last June.

 

While the President’s address — prepared by the Cabinet to showcase the achievements of the union government — dwelt on agricultural reforms at length, more than 20 Opposition parties, led by the Congress, boycotted the Presidential address.

 

However, Congress MP from Punjab Ravneet Bittu entered the Central Hall of Parliament and raised the slogan 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' during the address and demanded repeal of the three laws. Aam Admi Party (AAP) MP from Punjab, Bhagwant Singh Mann, also briefly created a commotion while trying to enter the Central Hall.

 

Later, Congress MPs including Rahul Gandhi protested outside the Parliament House, next to the Mahatma Gandhi statue, over the farm laws.

COVID challenge

Mr. Kovid noted that the Budget session was being held at a challenging time of COVID-19 but expressed confidence that India will not stop, no matter how big the challenge, if the country is united.

 

“It is a matter of immense pride that India is conducting the world's largest vaccination programme. Both the vaccines rolled out under this programme are produced indigenously,”he said.

 

Appreciating the the Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan (Self-Reliance Campaign) of the government, launched during the pandemic, he said it was not just confined to manufacturing but also aimed at elevating the standard of living of every Indian as well as boosting country’s self-confidence.

 

The President expressed satisfaction over the government’s measures to fight the pandemic and asserted that its timely decisions saved lives of millions of people while also helping the economy to rebound. Over 80 crore poor people were provided free ration for eight months, he said.

 

Mr. Kovind also paid his tributes to those who lost their lives to COVID-19 and homage to his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee and six MPs who passed away during the period last year.

Quotes poets

In his address, President Kovind referred to poetry composed by renowned poets from Assam, Bengal and Kerala, three poll-bound States. While started his speech by invoking ‘Assam Kesari’ Ambikagiri Raichaudhuri to give a call for unity, the President referred to Malayalam poet Vallathol for patriotism and ended his speech by invoking Jyotirindranath Tagore, elder brother of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, to convey a sense of moving forward with self esteem.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 3:45:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-will-abide-by-supreme-court-order-to-stay-rollout-of-farm-laws-president-kovind/article33692792.ece

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