Aam Aadmi (the common man), the UPA’s mascot, was at the heart of President Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s address to the nation on Friday as she served as the nation’s conscience keeper, reminding the government to deliver a responsive administration to people and asked the country to be prepared to face the “less than normal” monsoon.
In her first address to the nation after the general elections in April-May, Patil also reminded parliamentarians to stand by their electorate in the period intervening two elections.
With an average electorate of 1.3 million – “larger than the population of some nations” – the President said it was their “bounden duty to ensure that citizens are heard even in the period between elections”.
The President’s Independence Day eve address to the nation is her own, unlike her address to the joint session of Parliament that is scripted by the government of day.
As she spoke to a nation that had not allowed problems like terrorism, a drought that affects one-fourth of the nation, economic slowdown and the swine flu scare lower its spirits, Patil’s speech was high on inspiration and stressed on inclusiveness.
“Our narrative of growth should be a story of opportunity and a life of dignity for all,” she said.
Stressing that the welfare schemes like rural employment guarantee schemes were in place, she stressed on governance reform for effective delivery of public services.
“This year the monsoon has been less than normal, impacting agriculture and availability of water. We have to be prepared to face the situation,” she said. A confident Patil said the government was taking all possible steps to handle the swine flu scare.