Explained: 5 things to know about Droupadi Murmu, President of India

Droupadi Murmu: The new Rashtrapati Bhavan occupant, Droupadi Murmu, who enters office in the momentous 75th year of the country’s Independence, is profiled in five ways below.

India’s new president is Droupadi Murmu. She won the race, the results of which were released on Thursday, defeating the opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha (July 21). The Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces, Murmu, 64, is the second woman and the first Adivasi to hold this position.

Here are five facts about the new Rashtrapati Bhavan occupant, who assumes office during the momentous 75th anniversary of the country’s Independence.

Droupadi Murmu, President of India

Her early years:

From a very young age, Murmu has blazed new paths. She was the first girl from a Santhal family to attend college, the Ramadevi Women’s College in Bhubaneswar, which is now the Ramadevi Women’s University. Uparbeda is one of the seven revenue villages of the Uparbeda panchayat in the underdeveloped Mayurbhanj district of Odisha.

Murmu worked as a teacher at the Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Center in Rairangpur, Mayurbhanj, before starting her political career. She later served as a junior assistant in the Odisha government’s irrigation and electricity division.

A successful career in politics:

1997, Murmu was elected as a councillor to the Rairangpur Nagar Panchayat. She served as a Minister in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s BJD-BJP coalition government from 2000 to 2004 and was elected to two terms in the Odisha Assembly in 2000 and 2004.

In the state government, she handled the portfolios of Commerce and Transport, followed by Fisheries and Animal Husbandry. She was recognised for establishing transport offices in all 58 of the state’s subdivisions while serving as Odisha’s transportation minister.

Murmu was also the BJP’s Scheduled Tribes Morcha’s deputy president.

Her difficulties with herself:

Despite having a fruitful political career, Murmu encountered various difficulties. She ran for the Lok Sabha in 2009 from the Mayurbhanj constituency, but she was defeated since the BJD and BJP terminated their links.

A turbulent time in her personal life also occurred simultaneously with the electoral failure. In the ensuing six years, she suffered the untimely deaths of three of her closest relatives: her husband Shyam Charan Murmu in 2014, her younger son Sippun Murmu in 2013, and her eldest son Laxman Murmu in 2009.

In charge of Jharkhand:

2015 saw Murmu take the oath of office as Jharkhand’s first female governor.

Amendments to two centuries-old land regulations, the Chhotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act that would have made it simple to transfer property for industrial use were passed by the state’s BJP government, led by Chief Minister Raghubar Das, in November 2016. Murmu returned the Bills in June 2017 and demanded that the government explain how the revisions would help tribal people in response to widespread demonstrations by Adivasis. They thought the move would restrict their rights to land.

Murmu admired and respected her for her refusal to sign contentious bills that had been enacted by the party she had previously belonged to in government.

The chief Adivasi:

Murmu, a Santhal leader and role model for women, has regularly commented on problems that Adivasis encounter. At an international conference on financial inclusion on November 24, 2018, Governor Murmu stated that while the Jharkhand state government (at the time led by the BJP) and the Center were working to make banking services and other programmes available to tribal people, the conditions of SCs and STs “remain extremely poor.” Murmu urged the translation of works on Adivasi languages and cultures as well.

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