New Delhi : As part of its specific concerted initiatives to create awareness related to Citizens’ Duties, the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice has requested the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) as well as the state governments to come up with books on citizens’ duties and to include chapters in the books of civics and political science with a special emphasis and focus on citizens’ duties, a top official said at an ASSOCHAM-Department of Justice joint webinar today.
Similarly, we had also requested Department of Legal Affairs to take up and make some modules on citizens’ duties and I am happy to say that some of the states have already acted on that and the Department of Legal Affairs has already prepared some modules,” said Mr Barun Mitra, secretary, Department of Justice in the Ministry of Law and Justice while addressing the webinar on Citizens’ Duties during COVID–19.
Mr Mitra informed that Department of Justice with the help of Indian embassies has also started involving the non-resident Indians (NRIs) residing abroad on citizens’ duties and what all they can do for the country.
We need to do everything jointly in a very sustained manner and in a manner where we can take everyone aboard and listen to more suggestions to help build a more robust and vibrant society and a more developed nation,” he added.
Referring to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, he said, “The situation at hand calls for all stakeholders to come together and work side-by-side and support each other. This pandemic has brought in its wake hunger, loneliness, homelessness, violence, domestic abuse and economic woes, at such a time the ordinary citizens around the country have risen to steer community work and alleviate the hardships of the people selflessly in different ways that they could. These brave-hearts, popularly known as corona-warriors are the best ambassadors as implied in our constitution in the form of fundamental duties.”
Noting the duties performed by our doctors, nurses, medical staff and scientific community during the pandemic, he said, “We will look up to them with hope and gratitude and they are perhaps one of the best icons before us of how we can perform citizens’ duties.”
Terming the positive response from common citizens and society at large as ‘heart-warming’, he said “Be it coming up with community kitchens, creating awareness about preventions and physical distancing, providing shelter to the homeless, supporting the efforts of the government in setting health camps to deliver services to the elderly, people with disabilities, children and others, their contribution has been exemplary.”
He also said that an outstanding contribution has been in developing communication strategies which went a long way in taking awareness measures to the community level. “These are all reflective of how if duties are performed diligently they can help a society like a force multiplier.”
Mr Mitra also lauded the efforts of the private sector and India’s booming startups during Covid-19.
The constructive role in Covid-19 response played by the corporate sector in rebuilding and reviving our economy has been both timely and invaluable. This is an opportune moment for government and industry to act in unison to achieve goals of safe, secure country and self-reliance,” he said.
Mr Mitra added that that the crisis has also brought the best in the start-up space, “Many of them have risen to the occasion and have accelerated the development of low-cost, scalable and quick solutions, the results have been promising and we are certain that it is these vertical and horizontal partnerships built over the decades and strengthened during this joint fight against the pandemic will deliver better and greater results in times to come.”
Noting that the Covid-19 battle is a protracted one, the secretary to the Department of Justice said, “The need of the hour is to inculcate in each of us a sense of shared responsibility. It is important that we all remain prepared to balance societies and benefits with the potential costs of the pandemic and balance our personal freedoms with public restrictions for our own good. Freedom without acceptance of responsibility can destroy the edifice of freedom itself.”
He urged the industry associations to spread the message and sensitise all about the responsibilities and duties towards the nation. “Let us all resolve to work with unflinching commitment to build an Aatmnirbhar Bharat and let us together resonate with the spirit of citizens’ duties to achieve the full potential of our country.”
ASSOCHAM president, Dr Niranjan Hiranandani also addressed the webinar and assured support of the industry in government’s initiatives vis-à-vis creating awareness about citizens’ duties.
Sharing his perspective, ASSOCHAM secretary general, Mr Deepak Sood said, “To instil the importance of fundamental duties in a society, India should, as part of its education reforms, incorporate community welfare practices right from the primary stage to the university level. This will help our future citizens develop a strong sense of ethics and create model citizens.”
In his address, Mr Ravi Bhatnagar, co-chairperson, ASSOCHAM CSR Council and Director, External Affairs & Partnerships, (AMESA), Reckitt Benckiser, in his opening address recalled Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi’s words – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” and cited an example of his organization, “We launched the ‘Dettol Banega Swastha India Campaign,’ in less than 24 hours of the Swachh Bharat Mission launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in his maiden speech.
Mr Nixon Joseph, president & COO, SBI Foundation said, “While we enjoy our fundamental rights being citizens of India we should not forget that we also owe duties and responsibilities to our Nation. By showing compassion to our fellow citizens and also obeying rules and laws, we do our duty as citizens and become part of the solution. Youths have a major role to play in ingraining importance of citizens’ duties and also being its ambassadors. This is the time for all of us to develop self-leadership, i.e. taking responsibility for our actions.”