"This is a little change that we have adopted on the basis of suggestions received from different quarters," President Kovind said at a civic reception hosted by the Kerala government to honour him, according to news agency Press Trust of India.
According to protocol, the President is the last person to speak at any event he attends. The only person who speaks after him is the host to thank him and other guests. This was followed by the national anthem at the end of the event.
"But during my three last months, Rashtrapati Bhavan has received so many suggestions... They said that Sir, when you finish your speech, people stand up... and try to leave the place without listening to the vote of thanks," the President said.
"That way our people are not showing respect to the national anthem. So we decided.... let us have the vote of thanks before the speech of the President," he said.
"After I finish the speech, I will go to the seat and everybody will stand to honour the national anthem," the President said on his second visit to the state this month.
On his first visit, President Kovind had declined to use an umbrella when it started drizzling when the national anthem was being played while taking the salute by the Army on his arrival in Kollam.
The Supreme Court, which last year made it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem, had tried to work around a similar problem of people walking out at the end of the film by stipulating that the national anthem was played right at the beginning.
This isn't much of a problem at formal state events where the national anthem has to be played on the arrival of the President and on his departure. As a mark of respect, the officials and political leaders are told not to exit the venue before the President does as a matter of courtesy.