'Modi govt countering forces that challenge unity'

Modi govt committed to countering forces challenging India's sovereignty, unity: President Ram Nath Kovind

The President was addressing the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament on the first day of the Budget session

President Ram Nath Kovind accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and other dignitaries arrives to address the Budget Session, at Central Hall of Parliament House in New Delhi. Credit: PTI Photo

The Narendra Modi government is committed to countering all forces challenging India's sovereignty and unity and taking firm action against those inciting violence in the country, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Friday.

Addressing a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament on the first day of the Budget session, Kovind also said after the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been empowered with new entitlements.

"My government is committed to counter the forces challenging the sovereignty and unity of the country at every level. While on one hand development is being promoted in violence-affected areas, on the other hand, firm action is being taken against the forces inciting violence," he said.

As a result of this, Kovind said the number of incidents involving Naxal violence has declined and the Naxal-affected area is shrinking.

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"After the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been empowered with new entitlements... The development-oriented policy of the central government has also received wholehearted support from the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Only a few weeks ago, the elections to district councils in Jammu and Kashmir were held successfully for the first time after Independence," he said.

The president said the large-scale participation of voters in the District Development Council (DDC) polls in the Union Territory has shown that Jammu and Kashmir is forging ahead towards a new democratic future at a rapid pace and the grant of new entitlements has empowered the people of the region.

"After the implementation of the Ayushman Bharat Health Scheme, every family of Jammu and Kashmir is assured of free treatment worth Rs five lakh. A bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal has also been established in Jammu," he said.

Kovind said after becoming a Union Territory, elections to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Council were held successfully a few months ago and now, the people of Ladakh are themselves taking decisions related to the development of their region expeditiously.