New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind said on Friday that the country has started moving towards "suraaj" (good governance) and the government was seeking to attain the objective by transforming work culture in government, using technology and promoting healthy competition at the grassroots.
Addressing the joint sitting of two Houses of Parliament, the President said August 1 this year marks 100th death anniversary of the great freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak who had given the clarion call that Swaraj is our birthright.
"After attainment of Swaraj, the nation has now started moving towards Suraaj. Moving rapidly towards the goal of Suraaj, my Government is working at three levels - transforming the work culture in Government and strengthening institutions, use of modern technology to promote transparency and promoting healthy competition and public participation at the grassroots level.
He said due to efforts government to promote entrepreneurship and livelihood for women, more than 6.60 crore women have already joined the Self Help Group movement.
"These women are being provided with credit at low-interest rates. In order to provide equal opportunities, for the first time, women have been allowed to work during the night shift also in both underground and open cast mines. It is with this same objective of promoting gender equality that admission of girls has been permitted in Sainik Schools for the first time," he said.
The President said the appointment of women in the Military Police is also underway and for the first time the Indian Air Force is providing new opportunities for women to work in the fighter stream and as defence attaches.
Referring to the northeast, he said more than the physical distance it was the emotional disconnect that disheartened the people of the region.
"My Government has transformed this situation by working tirelessly during the last five years. Work is being done at an unprecedented pace in the northeast to enhance connectivity, strengthen infrastructure and make people's lives easier.
"As a result of these efforts of the Government, by 2022, the capitals of Sikkim, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland will be connected to the rail network. The work on Agartala-Akhaura rail link is also progressing at a fast pace. In the year 2022, the construction of the new airport being built at 'Holongi' in Arunachal Pradesh will also be completed," he said.
The President said construction of AIIMS in Guwahati, bio-refinery in Numaligarh and sports university in Manipur were also progressing at a fast pace and the government has sanctioned about Rs 9,000 crore for the North East Gas Grid Project.
This project will lay the foundation of a gas-based economy in all the eight states of the northeast, he said.
He also referred to the Central and Assam governments recently signing "a historic agreement" with the Bodo Organizations to bring an end to the five-decade-old Bodo dispute and the agreement between Tripura, Mizoram, the central government and the Bru community to resolve decades-old problem.