Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM’s address at the NHRC Silver Jubilee Foundation Day function

Posted On: 12 OCT 2018 8:04PM by PIB Delhi

 My cabinet colleagues on stage Shri Rajnath Singh ji and Shri Manoj Sinha ji, NHRC Chairperson Justice H.L. Dattu Ji, members of the Commission, all the dignitaries present here, ladies and gentlemen!

The National Human Rights Commission has completed 25 years today. I congratulate you and every citizen of the country for reaching this important milestone. I am extremely delighted to be with you all on this significant occasion.


The National Human Rights Commission has given a direction to nation building by being the voice of the common man, the deprived section of the society and the oppressed class for the past two and a half decades. The international human rights institutions have always conferred 'A' status on you for the role that you have played by walking the path of law and justice.


Protection of human rights is an essential part of our culture. Our tradition always recognizes a person's life sustaining equality and respect for dignity. The shloka that was uttered at the outset has been reiterated in detail by Rajnath ji - the expression of 'sarve bhavantu Sukhinaha' has always been embedded in our traditions.

The freedom movements during the colonial period also played a crucial role. After independence a strong mechanism was developed to preserve these ideals. We have a three-tier governance system, an independent and a fair judicial system, active media and a proactive civil society. There are also several institutions like NHRC, commissions and tribunals to secure the rights. Our system is grateful to all those institutions that are committed to the protection of rights of every citizen of the country including the poor, women, children, the oppressed and the deprived classes and the tribal communities. The Panchayati Raj system or the systems of local bodies play a vital role in securing human rights. These institutions are playing a vital role in ensuring the implementation of welfare schemes and delivery of benefits of development to the common people. These institutions make a crucial contribution to empower women and the deprived section of the society.


This dedication towards human rights had rescued the nation from a grave adversary in the 70s decade. During the dark period of emergency, the right to life itself was snatched away, let alone the other rights. Thousands and lakhs of people who had raised their voices against the then government were put behind the bars during that period. But the Indians have regained this important aspect of their lives - human rights - with their own efforts. I salute the people and the institutions that have re-established the nobility of the human rights, the fundamental rights on this auspicious occasion today.


Human Rights should not merely be a slogan but our cultural values and the basis of our democracy. I believe that serious attempts were made to raise the dignity of the oppressed, the poor, the deprived and the exploited section of our society during the last four and a half years. This is a great achievement. Whatever initiatives, campaigns and the schemes were formulated during the last four years, the basic aim of those was this. And that has been achieved.

The focus of the government is on the fact that the common man can fulfill his basic necessities not by the power of his own pocket but naturally by his identity as an Indian. Our government considers the mantra of 'sabka sath sabka vikas' as a medium to serve people. This in itself guarantees the protection of human rights.


You are well aware of the fact that there used to be several questions regarding daughters' right to life. Considering the daughters unwanted, the distorted mentality of killing them in the womb was prevalent among some narrow-minded people of the society.

Today I can say with immense pride that due to the 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao' campaign, there has been a huge increase in the number of daughters in many states including Haryana and Rajasthan. Several Innocents have got the right to life. Life is not just about breathing-in and breathing-out but the honour of a person is equally important.

I am glad that today the word 'Divyang' conveys respect and honour to some Indians. Moreover, to make their lives easier, several steps are being taken to make special arrangements in public buildings, airports, railway stations etc. under the 'Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan'.

The poor people are compelled to sleep under the sky, in dilapidated slums and have to tolerate the harsh climate.  This is also breach of rights of the poor.

To pull the poor out of this situation, efforts are going on to provide a house to every homeless poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. And it is a dream that by 2022 that will mark 75 years of Indian independence, every homeless Indian should have a house. Till date more than 1.25 crore brothers and sisters have received the keys of their houses.


Besides houses, free gas connections are also being given to the poor under the Ujjwala Yojana. This is not only a welfare scheme but also a medium through which people can lead their lives with pride and equality. Today about 5.5 crore mothers and sisters of the country have got their rights to clean and smoke-free kitchens. These families were deprived of the right for so long because they couldn't afford it; their pockets were empty.

Moreover, crores of families were living in darkness despite a well-established system of electricity and a system of power generation. This was only because they were poor and lived in remote areas. I am glad that electricity has now reached those 18,000 villages that were compelled to live without electricity in 18th century -like conditions even after so many years of independence.

Moreover, under 'Saubhagya Yojana', the houses of more than 1.5 crore families have been illuminated within 10-11 months.


Apart from darkness, open defecation was also a hindrance to a dignified life. The poor remained tight-lipped about the indignation that he had to undergo due to lack of toilets. It was a breach of right to live with dignity especially for crores of sisters and mothers. It in fact raised a serious question about their right to life. More than 9.5 crore toilets that have been constructed in the cities and villages of the country in the last four years have ensured my poor brothers and sisters the right to live with cleanliness and dignity. And the government of Uttar Pradesh has named toilets as 'Izzatghar' (abode of dignity). Every toilet has this caption of 'Izzatghar'.

One more right associated with the health of the poor has been conferred very recently and Shri Rajnath Singh ji had mentioned about that - the PMJAY i.e. the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. You are daily getting the proof of its enormity. The news from every corner of the country related to this scheme is extremely satiating. The people, who were hither to unable to get good quality treatment despite the presence of best hospitals due to unavailability of resources, have got the right to treatment today. Within 2-2.5 weeks of the launch of this scheme, more than 50,000 brothers and sisters have either been treated or are in the process of getting treated.


 Apart from health, long after several years of independence, the financial independence of the people was also limited. Only a few people could use banks and raise loans. However, a large chunk of the population was compelled to make small savings by putting away the amount in the containers hidden in kitchens. We acknowledged the seriousness of the situation and started the Jan Dhan Yojana. And today about 35 crore people have been linked to banks. We have secured their right to financial independence.

Moreover, with the help of Mudra Yojana, those people who were once dependent upon moneylenders are being given guarantee-free loans by the banks.

Brothers and sisters,

Our government has upheld human rights through laws and policies and has tried to strengthen them further. The recent formulation of the law liberating the Muslim women from 'triple talaq' is also a part of this objective. I hope that this crucial effort associated with the rights of Muslim women gets the approval of the Parliament.

The decision to increase the paid holidays for pregnant women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks is also a result of our thinking. In this way, we have also protected the rights of the newborn babies. This decision that aims to ensure that the mother stays with the child for 6 months after birth itself is a big thing. This decision is yet to be taken in the progressive countries of the world.

Our government has also made efforts to remove legal barriers for women to work in night shifts and to ensure adequate security in the process.

The initiatives like the ‘Rights of Persons with Disability Act’ for increasing reservation in jobs for 'Divyangs' or the 'Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Bill' show the government's commitment to human rights.

We have worked in the direction to ensure that there is no discrimination against the people suffering from HIV, and they get equal treatment, through law.



The government is increasing the number of e-courts to strengthen the right to seek justice, and is empowering the National Judicial data grid. So far, more than 17 thousand courts have been added to the national judicial data grid. Information related to cases and judgments are available online which has expedited the process of justice and has reduced the number of pending cases.

Legal support is being provided to the people living in remote and far-flung areas of the country through Tele-law scheme.

Brothers and sisters,

The government is insisting on the use of modern technology and increasing the transparency of the system in order to ensure the rights of the citizens. By formulating the UIDAI Act, the government has not only strengthened Aadhaar legally but has also successfully made an attempt to deliver the benefits of the schemes to poor by increasing the use of Aadhaar.

Aadhaar has become one of the largest technology-based empowerment programmes in the country. Recently, the Supreme Court has praised the government's work. Similarly, by making the public distribution system transparent, the Government has ensured that the poor receives food grains at a cheaper price. Otherwise, we are all aware of the situation that existed earlier.

Similarly, several procedures have been modified and rules and regulations have been changed so that the people do not face any obstacle in exercising their rights. Promoting self-attestation or appointment of women through Short Service Commission in the Indian Armed Forces at par with men is both part of the government's same approach.

Such minute changes in rules and regulations have made an impact on greater levels. Like changing the definition of bamboo has allowed my tribal brothers and sisters living in remote and far-flung areas to cut and transport bamboo. This has drastically increased their incomes.


Several tasks have been accomplished keeping the goal of earning for all, education for all, medicines for all and justice for all in mind that have pulled out crores of Indians out of extreme poverty. The country is moving towards a very large system for the middle class at a rapid pace. Whatever success we have got with this, is not only because of the efforts of the government but more so because of public participation. Crores of Indians have realized and understood their responsibilities and inspired themselves for behavioral change.

Brothers and sisters,

Our decisions and programmes are successful only when people associate themselves with the same. I can say on the basis of my experience that there is no greater mantra of success than public participation.

I was told that during the silver jubilee programme, several public awareness programmes were run across the country by NHRC. This is being done with the help of technology. A few moments ago, a postal stamp was launched. The new version of the NHRC's website has also been launched. This will definitely benefit the people who are in need. As per my suggestion, I would like NHRC to use social media for extensive publicity. Awareness of human rights is definitely essential but at the same time it is also important to remind the people of their duties and responsibilities.

I realize that you receive plenty of complaints of which several are of serious nature. You hear every complaint and dispose of the cases but is it possible to maintain a database about the classes and the areas related to the complaints which can be analyzed? I am sure that during this process we can get brilliant solutions to some problems.

The role of NHRC in the government's efforts to achieve sustainable development goals is very important. The government has always welcomed your suggestions. The government is always committed to make the lives of the citizens better and secure their rights. Once again, I congratulate NHRC on the occasion of Silver Jubilee and my best wishes to you all. We all will continue to move forward for a constructive change in the country.

With this expectation, I thank you all.





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