Be true to letter of law, spirit of justice for a developed India: Ram Nath Kovind
In an apparent reference to the recent controversy over the Supreme Court order perceived to be diluting a law meant to safeguard the Dalits, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday if institutions and society can be true to both the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of justice”, it could lead to a developed India where every Indian realises his/her potential.
“There may be disagreement, but there must be respect for the other person’s dignity. Dignity and civility; order and rule of law; fairness and justice; entrepreneurship and aspirations — we have to achieve all of these. We cannot pick and choose,” said Kovind, a Dalit himself, addressing the 34th annual session of FICCI ladies organisation.
The Supreme Court’s March 20 judgment on the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 had sparked protests in many parts of the country, resulting in 11 deaths since Monday. It forced the government to file a review petition against the order that banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the Act.
Kovind also referred to the mounting non-performing assets and bad loans in the banking sector, in the wake of the recent scam hitting the banking sector, and said it is the honest citizens who have to ultimately bear the burden of such defaults.
Pointing out genuine business failures can happen, he said: “But when there is a wilful and criminal default on a bank loan, then it is families of our fellow Indians that suffer. The innocent citizen loses out, and ultimately the honest taxpayer bears the burden.”
The finance ministry had in March informed Parliament that bad loans or non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector have been rising steadily over the past eight years and in case of state-run banks, they crossed Rs 7.77 lakh crore by the end of 2017.
Drawing a parallel with the government’s MUDRA scheme, Kovind said that about 117 million loans have been sanctioned and close to 88 million of them have gone to women entrepreneurs. “And as of December 2017, the number of NPAs in the MUDRA scheme is less than 8% of the loans sanctioned,” he said.
Regretting that women have not been given their due in the business arena, Kovind asked corporate India to take determined steps towards creating gender-sensitive supply chains. “We need to create conditions for more and more of our daughters and sisters to come into the workforce. We need to push harder to ensure appropriate, encouraging and safe conditions at home, in society and at the work place to enhance the percentage of working women,” he said.
The President said if more women become part of the workforce, both household incomes and our GDP will rise. “We will become a more prosperous nation. Much greater than that, we will become a more equal society,” Kovind added.