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Let us reach the unreached: President Kalam
January 25, 2007 19:33 IST
With the Nithari serial killings weighing heavily on his mind and sharing in nation's shock, President A P J Abdul Kalam said on Thursday that cruelty to children cannot be tolerated. He demanded speedy and exemplary punishment to perpetrators of such crimes.
"Some recent incidents of crime against children have shocked the whole nation and left deep scars in all of us. Children are our national wealth. Cruelty to children is against the fabric of society which cannot be tolerated at any cost," he said.
Addressing the nation on the eve of the 58th Republic Day, the President said concerted action by all concerned in the society such as watchful neighbours, fast action-oriented police machinery, vigilant media and speedy exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of crime by the judicial system is the need of the hour.
Besides, he said, as a preventive measure, efforts needed to be made to identify people who have such tendency in the society through modern psychological test aids.
"Eradication of cruelty towards children should be the mission of every Indian since they are our future," Kalam observed in his address, the last of his term.
In the address, the President dwelt on a wide range of issues facing the country and depicted the 'ambience in the nation (in) 2007' and the one that was possible in 2020.
"If we perform in an integrated way with development politics as the focus, in mission mode with transparency, I visualise even before the year 2020, that a prosperous nation is possible," he observed.
To achieve these goals, a national movement of development is essential, he said, adding that every citizen in the country should participate in it to 'reach the unreached'.
He said the corporate sector should think of reaching the unreached as an essential component of 'Corporate Social responsibiilty' - "In a world dominated by communication, extending communication for the priviledged to include connectivity to the unreached should be part of our technological upheaval."
Noting that no Indian youth should be without either a world-class higher education or without world-class skill sets, the President wanted steps for evolving a global human resources cadre by the country for the task of acquisition, imparting, creation and sharing of knowledge.
"Systems must be designed in such a way that no aspiring competent students should be denied quality education," he said.
Dwelling on the 'ambience in the nation 2007', the President said that in Indian history, the nation has come across a situation, all at a time, when there was an ascending economic trajectory, continuously rising foreign exchange reserves and increasing domestic investments.
Besides, he said the distinction between the public and the private sectors and the 'illusory primacy of one over the other is vanishing'.
The President said the number of people living below the poverty line has come down to 22 percent and the literacy rate would soon touch 75 percent.
He said the Centre is planning to introduce two Providing Urban facilities in Rural Areas clusters in each district across the country as a first phase.
On 'reaching the unreached', he said the government has doubled the credit availability to the agriculture sector in 2005-06 keeping in 2004-05 as base.
Without referring to a spate of suicides by farmers in various parts of the country, Kalam said NABARD and Banking and financial institutions have to work together to find hassle free methods of providing micro-credit investment to needy farmers.
This, he said, was necessary to wean them away from the clutches of elements who exploit them.
Turning to enterpreneurship development, the President said the government must create a facilitating environment for provision of venture capital for innovative ideas without collateral security.
Underlining the need to cultivate a mindset that "idea is wealth", he said universities, engineering and management institutions should work with banks and other funding agencies towards simplifying procedures and working with enterpreneurs.
"Procedures in government should facilitate the spotting and recognition of new Indian talents and small enterpreneurs by creating a level playing field for health competition," he said.
The President also wanted big and small industries to have a mind to encourage and partner with young enterpreneurs.
Kalam also called for participation of youth in the political system for a developed India by taking up politics as their career to large numbers.
The President had a word of praise for the country's armed forces and paramilitary forces. He said day or night, they are awake guarding the country's borders on the land, in the air and at sea and remain vigilant to counter any threat.