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             Independence Day 2014

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Today we celebrate the 68th Independence Day of our great Nation. On this joyous occasion I convey my greetings and good wishes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and wish them a bright and prosperous future.

 On this auspicious occasion we must pay homage to the great leaders who carried out a prolonged struggle for freedom and made untold sacrifices to liberate India from the colonial yoke. We must also remember and pay tribute to the outstanding personalities, with lofty visions and uncompromising ideologies, who drafted the Constitution of India which is continuing to serve as the unassailable keeper of the national conscience.

 Since the attainment of Independence our country has secured commendable achievements on varied fronts. However, our failure to attain equitable outcomes in certain crucial arenas has led to a situation in which a significant percentage of our population has been unable to cross the poverty line. For all our people to enjoy the fruits of freedom and receive their due share in the nationís growth and prosperity it is of crucial importance that all development programmes, particularly the poverty alleviation programmes, are executed with utmost efficiency, total accountability and complete honesty.

 With continuing support from the Government of India, the State Government is implementing programmes for promoting peopleís welfare and securing growth and development in almost every arena. As past experience has amply demonstrated, the ongoing endeavours shall yield the envisaged results only when the administrative apparatus carries out its tasks strictly within the planned time-frames, effectively ensures against any kind of slippage and ruthlessly eradicates corruption at all levels.

 The people of Jammu and Kashmir have faced various serious difficulties and gone through a long period of pain and suffering. Despite the serious problems which are created by the activities of terrorist groups and the continuing intrusions from across the LoC, there has been a significant improvement in the overall security situation, for which we owe gratitude to the brave officers and men of our Security Forces who have been sacrificing their lives for protecting our countryís territorial integrity.

 The steadily enhancing environment of peace and normalcy has contributed towards the revival of economic activities. There has been a significant increase in tourism and, including the two major pilgrimages to the State, there have been over six and a half million visitors to our State since the beginning of this year.

 The recent elections to the Parliament and the smooth transition to the assumption of authority by the new government has demonstrated, yet once again, that democracy is deeply entrenched in our country. In Jammu and Kashmir, elections to the State Legislature are due to take place later this year. I trust that the electorate, particularly the young first time voters, shall turn out in the largest ever numbers to freely exercise their franchise and elect a government of their choice. To achieve this objective, and to ensure a peaceful transition in our State, it would be of crucial importance to ensure that normalcy is maintained in the coming months. The leaders and activists of all the political parties, all the contesting candidates, the voters and the people of the State shall need to play a responsible role for ensuring that the forthcoming polls engender an outcome which enhances stability and enables Jammu and Kashmir to achieve rapid progress on all fronts, to soon emerge as a leading State in the country.

 Like all youth, the bright young boys and girls of Jammu and Kashmir have their dreams and aspirations. It is the high responsibility of those who are elected to manage the affairs of the State to take all required steps to ensure that the educational system is not subjected to the repeated disruptions which it has suffered in the past years. On the contrary, our vibrant youth needs to be shown the light and provided all possible support for achieving their avowed goals so that the upcoming leaders can take the State rapidly towards sustained peace, progress and prosperity.

 As I have said before, the maintenance of peace and normalcy in the coming months shall be crucial to the successful outcome of the forthcoming elections to the State legislature. I appeal to all segments of society and to the leaders of all political, social and religious organisations in all the regions of the State, to work shoulder to shoulder for resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue and discussions. They should also work unitedly to see that Jammu and Kashmir achieves speedy progress and secures its rightful place at the vanguard of the nation.

 Before concluding, I convey my good wishes to the Chief Minister, Shri Omar Abdullah, his Council of Ministers, and to all the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

JAI HIND