Transparency most important aspect of good governance in democracy: President Kovind

MUMBAI: President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said the word ‘durbar’ was linked to royalty in the pre-Independence era, but its modern concept promotes transparency, which is the most important aspect of good governance in democracy.
He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the newly-reconstructed Durbar Hall at the Raj Bhavan here.
The president said that just like the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the national capital, the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai has become a constitutional symbol of hopes and aspirations of people in the world’s largest democracy.
“Before Independence, the word durbar was connected to royalty, while in the present times, it is associated with democracy. The modern concept of durbar promotes transparency, which is the most important aspect of good governance in a democratic system,” he said.
“There is nothing private or secret in a durbar. Everything happens in full public view, by taking everyone along. Even elected representatives are holding ‘janata durbars’ to connect with the people. This method is becoming popular. In this context, the new Durbar Hall is a symbol of new India, new Maharashtra and our vibrant democracy,” the president said. He added that this heritage site might be a legacy of the British, but its present and future was linked to the glory of Maharashtra and rest of the country. Kovind said there was definitely something special about Maharashtra, which brings him to the state again and again.
“Maharashtra is a land of spirituality as well as of brave struggles against injustice. This is a land of patriots and devotees of god. Maharashtra is a major economic and cultural centre in the country,” the president said.
He said that during his four-and-a-half years of tenure as the president, he visited Maharashtra 12 times. “But during this visit, I am experiencing a void due to the death of Lata Mangeshkar. A week ago, we lost our dear Lata didi, but her music is immortal and it will live among the people for generations to come. A great genius like her is born once in a century. The memory of her simplicity and gentle nature will also be imprinted in the mind of people,” Kovind said.
The president said he was private secretary of Morarji Desai when the latter took over as the chief minister of Bombay state and was sworn in at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai. He recalled his visit in 2019 when he inaugurated the underground bunker museum at Raj Bhavan, which gives out interesting information about the premises. Lauding the reconstruction work of Durbar Hall, he said it was done by preserving the heritage structure. The new Durbar Hall has a seating capacity of 750 and retains most of the heritage features of the old Durbar hall, which had a seating capacity of 225.
The previous hall was built in 1911 and was designed by architect George Wittet. Post-Independence, the hall was mainly associated with oath-taking ceremonies of constitutional functionaries, It is also the venue of various government and cultural programmes.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the Durbar Hall was witness to the developments that unfolded in the last century. In an apparent dig at the BJP, he said, ”When I was in the opposition, I would come here once or twice in a year with a delegation to highlight the issues concerning people. Even today, our dialogue continues.”
The air here is cool irrespective of the political air, Thackeray quipped. He said it was a matter of pride that the Sanyukta Maharashtra map at Raj Bhavan was unveiled on April 30, 1960 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Thackeray added that the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai was the best in the country as it has sea on one side and greenery on the other. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said his endeavour has been to make Raj Bhavan a ‘Lok Bhavan’ (people’s place).
All Durbar halls in the Raj Bhavans across the country should be named after saints. ”Here, the Durbar Hall can be named as Samarth Hall,” he said.

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