President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday described the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya as one of the “milestones that decide the future of centuries”. She also said that a country can progress at a fast pace only when it defeats the challenges of the past and puts maximum energy into building the future.

Addressing a joint session of Parliament for the first time in the new building, she read the report card of the last 10 years of the Modi Government, ranging from economic development to diplomatic success and strength of armed forces. However, one particular paragraph which elicited strong applause from the treasury benches was the mention of the newly consecrated Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

There are some junctures in the history of civilisation that shape the future for the coming centuries, she said. “There have been many such defining moments in the history of India also. This year, on January 22, the country witnessed a similar epochal moment. After waiting for centuries, Ram Lalla has now been enshrined in his grand temple in Ayodhya,” she said.

She said this was a matter of aspiration and “faith for crores of our countrymen and the resolution of this has been accomplished in a harmonious manner”. Following the consecration ceremony in Ayodhya Dham, 13 lakh devotees have had ‘darshan’ in just five days, the president noted.

Article 370

On another major decision, related to Jammu & Kashmir, she said apprehensions over the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir have become history now”. There is an environment of peace and security in Jammu and Kashmir as there is vibrancy in markets instead of the “silence of shutdowns” witnessed in the past, the president said. Insurgency is on the decline in the North East, she stated . The government has also established a strict law against triple talaq, she said.

She asserted that the armed forces were giving a fitting reply to terrorism and expansionism. Murmu also said India is now a prominent voice against terrorism in the world. The government, she said, believes the grand edifice of a developed India will stand on the four strong pillars of youth power, women power, farmers, and the poor.

Murmu arrived in a buggy at Parliament House to deliver her address to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The president entered the House preceded by a bearer carrying the ‘sengol’ (sceptre). This is the last Parliament session before Lok Sabha elections.

Economic progress

The President said the Indian economy used to be among the ‘fragile five’ but was now moving in the right direction and at the right pace due to several reforms undertaken by the government in the last 10 years. “According to the NITI Aayog, in the 10-year rule of my government, nearly 25 crore people have come out of poverty,” she said.

“We have been hearing slogans of eradicating poverty for long; now first time we are seeing poverty being eradicated on a large-scale,” she said. Over the past decade, Murmu said, the government has made good governance and transparency the cornerstone of every system. “My government is continuously working on making it easy to do business in India and creating a suitable environment for it,” she said.

Murmu said the government is working with full commitment to empower MSMEs and small entrepreneurs. Earlier, the country’s rate of inflation was in double digits and is now within 4 per cent, she said. Murmu congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the passage of the women’s reservation bill.