NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Patil has called for effective steps to restore the credibility of the national institutions, in the wake of the public’s tendency to doubt everything.
Delivering the President’s customary address to the nation on Republic Day eve, Patil also stressed that any reform to these institutions should be effected through a broad consensus.
“There seems to be a tendency to doubt almost everything. Do we not have faith in our own people’s strengths and in our institutions? Can we afford distrust among ourselves? Nations are built through great patience and sacrifices.”
“Concord and not discord is the way forward for a country as large as India,” she noted.
The President’s call comes at a time when the country has witnessed a widespread campaign led by veteran crusader Anna Hazare, to rid the system of endemic corruption and to bring a strong Lokpal Bill. The President also had a word of caution for the supporters of the mass movement. “While bringing about reforms and improving institutions, we have to be cautious that while shaking the tree to remove the bad fruit, we do not bring down the tree itself,” she said. Her speech also outlined the priorities for ensuring the nation’s inclusive and sustainable growth. “Our foremost priority is the removal of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, disease and illiteracy. All the social welfare programmes must be efficiently implemented. Agencies involved in the delivery of services should have a strong sense of duty and work in a transparent, corruption-free, time-bound and accountable manner,” Patil emphasised.
According to the President, it was imperative to initiate steps for reaffirming the people’s faith in the institutions of ‘functional democracy’, which had successfully withstood several formidable challenges over the years.
“Our institutions may not be flawless, but they have coped with the many challenges. Our Parliament has enacted path-breaking laws. Our Government has put together schemes for the progress and welfare of the people. Our judiciary has a reputable standing. Our media too has played an important role. With all institutions working together for the same national purpose it will create a stream of positive energy. Our effort to improve is an on-going process,” she affirmed.