President Pratibha Patil on Saturday appealed to Maoists to get off the path of violence and come to the negotiating table.
Addressing the nation on Independence Day eve, she said: “The proponents of extreme ideologies and the followers of Left-wing extremism must abandon their path of violence. I call on them to join national efforts for growth and development.”
Patil said protracted development efforts were required in Maoist-affected areas and hoped everybody, including civil society, would come forward and move the extremists in this direction. “It requires a spirit of conciliation. This is possible when dialogue is chosen as the channel for communication. By listening to each other, respecting each other’s viewpoint, understanding one another, we can address issues before us.”
Underscoring the problem of corruption, a major hindrance to governance, Patil said powers have been given to those in government to formulate policies and implement them and it should be remembered that this power must be used in a responsible manner.
"Zero tolerance towards corruption and working with the highest standards of public service will definitely result in efficient governance and have a multiplier effect on development and growth," the President said.
The President continued: "Our task will be complete only when no one sleeps on a hungry stomach, when no one sleeps on the footpath, when every child is in school. Therefore, fittingly, education, capacity building, housing, healthcare and nutrition are priority on the agenda of the government."
Terming terrorism the biggest threat to global peace, President Patil that to defeat terror, all nations of the world must work collectively "...so that terrorists have no sanctuaries, no training grounds, no access to financial resources, no infrastructural support, no defenders of their ideology".
Listing some of the problems facing the country, she said: "Strong family bonds are weakening. Social consciousness is on the decline. Some social evils persist. This must change. Today is the best opportunity when ground-breaking achievements along with a moral and ethical renaissance can take place."
The President said it must be everyone's endeavour to ensure the welfare of all and it is for this reason that India has adopted inclusive growth as a pillar of its economic edifice and is pro-actively pursuing it.