The government’s reforms in labour and agriculture may cause “misapprehensions in initial stages” but they were pending for long, said President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday in a speech before Republic Day when farmers plan to drive tractors into Delhi to protest against three laws liberalising India’s agriculture markets.
Kovind, in a customary speech televised nationwide, spoke about India’s national security, coronavirus vaccines and national development. The President’s major speeches are approved by the government, which uses them to convey its policies.
“Economic reforms have continued apace and have been supplemented by long-pending reforms in the areas of labour and agriculture through legislation. The path to reform at the initial stages may cause misapprehensions. However, it is beyond doubt that the Government remains singularly devoted to farmers’ welfare,” he said, seemingly referring to protests against the agriculture laws enacted in September.
Farmers mainly drawn Punjab and Haryana have blockaded approaches New Delhi for about two months to protest against the laws they say will hurt their livelihoods and help big companies. Their unions are pushing for repeal of the laws, after rejecting a government proposal to suspend the measures it says will usher in much-needed steps to boost farmer incomes.
Several rounds of talks with Modi’s government have made little headway, and protesters now aim to up the ante with a tractor procession to Delhi on Tuesday.
Full text of the address of the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, on the eve of the 72nd #RepublicDay.
Paying tributes to the 20 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives at Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh last June during clashes with the Chinese troops, the President said the past year “was a time of adversity, and it came from many fronts.”
“We faced an expansionist move on our borders, but our valiant soldiers foiled it. To achieve this objective, 20 of them had to lay down their lives.”