Sharing with the students his experience in politics of India post-Independence, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday stressed on social performance for economic growth of the country.
Speaking on India’s security issues, Mukherjee explained the factors that had transformed India since its Independence. He also pointed out what was required in order to make India economically strong.
Mukherjee said homegrown terrorism is the biggest menace in the world today, but India has been broadly spared from it.
He attributed this to the success of India’s governance and administration that ensured that homegrown terrorism did not lift his hydra head.
He was addressing the students of Classes 11 and 12 of the Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya at the President Estate. This was second year in a row that he met the students on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.
Terming Secularism the strength of India, Mukherjee said: “Secularism is part of our life and it is still unfolding.”
Post-Independence, there was communal disharmony, however, India should be glad that her leaders and statesmen kept the people united, he said.
Referring to the violence during the Independence, Mukherjee said: “We faced major problems in maintaining communal harmony then. However, we must keep in mind the background in which our Constitution was adopted. Psychologically, it was a traumatic situation.”
“People were in trauma. Millions of people were uprooted from their homes and lands and forced to migrate to new places and settle down. So, naturally there was communal tension. But thanks to our political leaders and statesmen… they managed to keep the people together and reaffirmed our faith and confidence in secularism,” said Mukherjee.
Mukherjee, who himself was a teacher for a short stint in his early life, also gave students an idea for developing the Indian economy which still requires a strong push in various sectors to compete with the world.
Emphasising on social performance for economic growth of the country, the former Finance Minister stated that increase in unemployment is not the requirement for the country.
He said that two factors were important for India to grow economically.
Mukherjee said: “Overall social performance should grow, which includes health and social infrastructures among others. Social distribution and growth with equity is also required.”
Mukherjee stressed that job generation was important for economic growth.
He also touched upon the emerging idea within the political parties that the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections should be held together. “Election Commission can also put in their idea and efforts on holding the polls together,” he said.
Explaining the liberalisation of Indian economy in 1991 to the students, Mukherjee threw light on the condition of the Indian economy immediately after Independence.
“Fifty years, from 1900 to 1950, India’s economy grew at the rate of less than one percent… the major tasks of leaders, administrators was how to improve economic growth… In 1991, some people used to say that it was a U-turn and I would say it was not a U-turn but a natural progress,” said Mukherjee.
In India, September 5 is celebrated as Teachers’ Day, which is the birth anniversary of India’s second President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (September 5, 1888).
Radhakrishnan was a staunch believer in education, and was a well-known statesman and scholar. The former President was above all, a teacher. The occasion is a mark of tribute to the contribution made by teachers to the society.