New Delhi [India], Aug 14 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday expressed confidence that abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories would be of immense benefit to the region as people will enjoy the same rights, privileges and facilities as citizens in rest of the county including "egalitarian and progressive" laws such as right to education and abolishment of triple talaq.
In his address to the nation on the eve of 73rd Independence Day, the President said the illustrious generation that led to the country to freedom did not perceive independence only in terms of transfer of political power but "as a stepping stone in a longer and larger process of nation-building and national welding".
Their objective, he said, was to improve the life of each individual, each family and of society as a whole.
"In this backdrop, I am confident that the recent changes made in Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh would be of immense benefit to those regions. They will enable the people to access and enjoy the same rights, same privileges, and the same facilities as their fellow citizens in the rest of the country. These include progressive, egalitarian laws and provisions related to the Right to Education, accessing public information through the Right to Information, reservations in education and employment and other facilities for traditionally deprived communities, and justice for our daughters by abolishing unequal practices such as instant triple talaq," he said.
The Parliament earlier this month adopted a resolution to repeal Article 370, which provided special powers to Jammu and Kashmir.
It also passed a bill to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh without it.
The reorganization bill was signed by the President after it was passed by the two houses of parliament and it was notified by the government on August 9.
Another bill passed by parliament to extend 10 per cent reservation to economically backward sections will also apply to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Kovind said the country is completing 72 years as a free nation at a very special juncture as October 2 this year will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, "the guiding light of our successful effort to liberate our nation and of our continuing effort to reform our society of all inequities".
"Contemporary India is very different from India in which Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked. Even so, Gandhiji remains extremely relevant," he said.
He said Gandhi's advocacy of sustainability, ecological sensitivity and living in harmony with nature "anticipated pressing challenges of our times".
"When we design and deliver welfare programmes for our disadvantaged fellow citizens and families when we seek to harness the power of the sun as renewable energy, we put Gandhian philosophy into action," he said.
The President said that the year also marks the 550th birth anniversary of one of the greatest, wisest and most influential Indians of all time - Guru Nanak Devji.
"He was the founder of Sikhism, but the reverence and respect he commands go far beyond just our Sikh brothers and sisters. They extend to millions of others in India and across the world," he said.
He also recalled the sacrifices of freedom fighters and revolutionaries who made sacrifices for the country's freedom from colonial rule.
"This is a happy and emotional day for all children of Mother India, whether living at home or abroad," he said. (ANI)