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Patil’s R-Day message
Published on 26 Jan. 2011 12:59 AM IST
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With the government trying to shore up its image tainted by a spate of scams, President Pratibha Patil Tuesday described corruption as “the enemy of development” and called for “a constructive approach” to resolve the impasse over the demand for a joint parliamentary committee probe into the 2G spectrum scam. In her all-encompassing address to the nation on the eve of the 62nd Republic Day, Patil also highlighted the growing global profile of India and called for the international community to take collective steps to eradicate the scourge of terrorism.
Putting social justice and inclusive growth on top of the national agenda, Patil called for a “national consensus on critical issues” and a fresh pledge to include the poor and the marginalised in the growth story of India. Patil struck an optimistic note, saying the government was confident of achieving over 9 per cent economic growth next year, but admitted that rising inflation, specially food prices, is “a matter of serious concern”. “We are now returning to the pre-crisis growth pattern and are confident of growing at over 9 percent next year,” Patil said in her address.
“All sectors of the economy will be contributors to our growth trajectory,” she said, while underlining that the performance of the Indian economy was appreciable even in the face of difficult circumstances during the global financial downturn.
The presidential address also contained veiled references to the ongoing controversy over the opposition’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee into the allocation of 2G spectrum and a spate of recent corruption scandals that has plagued the government. “Corruption is the enemy of development and of good governance. Instead of getting lost in this mire, it is necessary to rise above it and seriously look at bringing systemic changes to deal more effectively with corruption,” she said. In an oblique criticism of the opposition that paralysed the winter session of parliament over the alleged 2G scam, Patil said the successful functioning of parliament was “a joint responsibility of both the government and the opposition”.
“It is important that the decorum and dignity of the House is upheld at all times. The image of parliament in the public mind should be one where proceedings, debates and discussions take place with a view to resolve issues through a constructive and co-operative approach,” she said. She stressed that a failure to do so may derail democratic institutions. Stressing on the “urgent need to take suitable action, and also look at more innovative approaches towards food security, agricultural production and rural development”, Patil called for a second green revolution.
“We need a Second Green Revolution that maximizes productivity, and yet generates income and employment opportunities for the rural population,” she said.
In her 20-minute speech broadcast live in Hindi and English, the president alluded to the increasing influence of India, but repeatedly underlined the need for social justice and inclusive growth. “We can be proud of our successes, but there are many significant tasks that are yet to be accomplished, in particular the pledge to empower the poor and the marginalized sections of our population so that they too can become a part of the growth story of our nation,” she said. “There should be national consensus on critical national goals,” Patil said. She identified these as the eradication of poverty, empowerment of women, access to quality education and affordable health facilities for all.
Without mentioning Pakistan, the president described terrorism as “the single most detrimental threat to the progress of humankind,” and stressed on the need to engage neighbours in dialogue for the security of the region.

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