Poor must benefit from growth, says Pranab

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 25, 2013 Published on January 25, 2013

We must ensure that the fruits of economic growth do not become the monopoly of the privileged at the peak of a pyramid, President Pranab Mukherjee said in his first address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day.

Mukherjee said the youth of the country cannot dream on an empty stomach.

“They must have jobs capable of serving their own as well as the nation’s ambitions,” he said, while maintaining that India had come a long way since 1947, when the first Budget’s revenue was just over Rs 171 crore.

“The resource base of the Union Government today is an ocean compared to that drop,” he said, adding that the primary purpose of wealth creation must be to drive out the evil of hunger, deprivation and marginal subsistence from the base of the country’s expanding population.

He said 2012 was a testing time for all and urged the country to remain alive to the “persisting problems” of market-dependent economies.

“Many rich nations are now trapped by a culture of entitlement without social obligations; we must avoid this trap. The results of our policies should be seen in our villages, farms and factories, schools and hospitals,” the President said in his speech.

Mukherjee said unless acted immediately, India’s pockets of conflict, “often described as Naxalite violence,” could acquire far more dangerous dimensions.

He said the drive towards gender equality was a major achievement for the country. The time has now come to ensure gender equality for every Indian woman, he added. “We can neither evade nor abandon this national commitment, for the price of neglect will be high,” the President said.

Mentioning the Delhi gang rape and murder, Mukherjee said the incident had shattered complacency. “If today young Indians feel outraged, can we blame our youth?” he asked. He added that anxiety and restlessness of youth has to be channelised towards change with speed, dignity and order.

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Published on January 25, 2013
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