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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Economy benefits have not reached all sections: Pratibha Patil

President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil, in her first on-the-eve-of Republic Day address to the nation, said “the underprivileged and the disadvantaged sections” should also find a place in the new sunny story of growth and development.

In the televised address on Friday, she noted that “the benefits of the upsurge in the economy have not reached all sections of our population.” She said that “in good faith we could not be indifferent” to the needs of the weaker sections. “We must ensure that they too should find a place to enjoy the sunshine of the country’s growth and development.”

Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of wiping “every tear in every eye,” Ms. Patil said while “the goal of high growth rates” should be pursued, it was important that “all people of our country benefited from it.”

While enormous resources were being made available for the various socially-oriented programmes, “how effective are our delivery mechanism and what are the weaknesses?” She indicated a preference for the people’s involvement as a “key to the effective implementation of programmes and projects.”

Corruption evil

Acknowledging that “corruption is an evil that afflicts our system and we have to eliminate it,” the President called for “greater transparency” in the government’s functioning.

Rights and duties

However, citizens had both rights and duties, Ms. Patil reminded the country. “Each one of us is responsible for the progress and the future of India as also each one of us will have to bear [the] blame for the shortcomings and deficiencies. I have often said that the government, civil society, NGOs and every citizen will have to work collectively for the growth of society. We must recognise that just as we ask for our rights, we have an obligation to perform our duties.”

Pluralistic character

Expressing satisfaction with various innovations in deepening the democratic institutions, the President stressed the country’s pluralistic character. “Today, as a nation and as individual citizens, we must pledge to uphold this spirit of solidarity and respect for the multicultural, multireligious and multiethnic character of India.”

Ms. Patil pledged that “India will continue to work with the international community to create a better world — a world free of terror, poverty, disease, ignorance and inequality.”


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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