January 26, 2015 12:00:25 am
Taking off from his Republic Day address last year when he urged people to vote for a stable government, President Pranab Mukherjee, in his address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day, emphasised that after a decisive mandate has put a majority government in saddle, there remains no cause for enacting laws without discussion — a tacit reference to ordinances.
Mukherjee said that enacting laws without discussion impacts the law-making role of Parliament and “breaches” the trust reposed in it by the people. “After three decades, the people have voted to power a single party with a majority for a stable government, and in the process freed the country’s governance from the compulsions of coalition politics… There can be no governance without a functioning legislature… It calls for reconciling the differences amongst stakeholders and building a consensus for the law to be enacted,” he added.
Asserting that religion “can’t be made the reason for conflict”, the President sent a message of “faith-equality” as enshrined in the Constitution. He also expressed concern over cross-border terrorism and the increasing atrocities against women.
This is the second time in a week that the President has emphasised the need for building consensus in the law-making process, the last time being in his address to central universities through video conferencing.
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The NDA government, since it came to power, has pushed through nine ordinances so far. Before signing the ordinance on land acquisition, the President had sought clarification from three senior ministers about the urgency for bringing an ordinance without waiting for Parliament to reconvene. Sensing his reluctance to sign any more ordinances, government has decided not to go ahead on a tenth ordinance to amend the Arbitration and Reconciliation Act.
Mukherjee said the Constitution is the lodestar for the socio-economic transformation of India whose civilisation has celebrated pluralism, advocated tolerance and promoted goodwill between diverse communities.
“The violence of the tongue cuts and wounds people’s hearts. Religion, said Gandhiji, is a force for unity; we cannot make it a cause for conflict… Wisdom of India teaches us: unity is strength, dominance is weakness,” the President said.
Days after US President Barrack Obama sent out a strong message against Pakistan on terror, Mukherjee called upon the world to join India in fighting the menace of terrorism.
On the economic front, he struck an optimistic note describing 2015 as the year of hope. Achieving 5 per cent plus growth rates each in the first two quarters of 2014-15, he said, is a healthy sign for an early reversion to the high growth trajectory of 7-8 percent. While talking about atrocities against women inside the home and outside, he wondered where we had gone wrong as parents, teachers and leaders that children have not learnt the basic tenets of decent behaviour towards women.
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