President Pranab Mukherjee
President Pranab MukherjeePress Information Bureau

President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday addressed the nation ahead of the 68th Republic Day celebrations on Thursday, January 26, and said that the country's tradition has always celebrated the "argumentative" Indian and not the "intolerant" Indian. He also spoke about the issue of demonetisation.

"Our economy has been performing well despite the challenging global economic conditions... Demonetisation, while immobilising black money and fighting corruption may have led to temporary slowdown of economic activity. As more and more transactions become cashless, it will improve the transparency of the economy," President Mukherjee said in a televised address.

Describing the Indian democracy as an "oasis of stability in the region troubled by unrest," the President said that "a healthy democracy calls for conformity to the values of tolerance, patience and respect for others. Our tradition has always celebrated the 'argumentative' Indian and not the 'intolerant' Indian."

Mukherjee also addressed the issue of poverty saying that the country's economy "is yet to grow at over 10 percent for an extended period of time to make a significant dent on poverty. One-fifth of our countrymen still remain below poverty line. We have to work harder because our war on poverty is not yet over."

He also spoke about the safety of women and children and the well-being of India's soldiers: "We have to work harder to provide safety and security to our women and children. We must ensure the well-being of our soldiers and security personnel who protect us from internal, external threats."

President Mukherjee also greeted the citizens of the nation. "On the eve of the 68th Republic Day of our nation, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad. My special greetings to members of our armed forces, paramilitary forces and internal security forces," the President added.