President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday asked the government and the civil society to work together in ensuring gender equality for every woman, cautioning that “the price of neglect will be high.”
A file photo of President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. UNI
In his first Republic Day address as President, Mukherjee referred to the gang-rape and murder of the 23-year old student in the capital in December, which was followed by spontaneous protests near Rashtrapati Bhavan, and said time has come for the nation to reset its moral compass.
In a clear message to the government, Mukherjee said the incident has shattered complacency and to make people believe that governance is an instrument for good, “we must ensure good governance.”
“Nothing should be allowed to spur cynicism, as cynicism is blind to morality. We must look deep into our conscience and find out where we have faltered. The solutions to problems have to be found through discussion and conciliation of views.”
Refusing to blame the young Indians for feeling outraged, Mukherjee argued that they are troubled by many existential doubts: “Does the system offer due reward for merit?”
Pitching once again for inclusive growth and employment as “the young cannot dream on an empty stomach”, the President also warned about the persisting problems of market-dependent economies at a time when the government is aggressively pursuing economic reforms.
“Figures mean nothing to those who do not benefit from them,” Mukherjee — former Union finance minister — pointed out while warning that in absence of development, naxalite violence, could acquire more dangerous dimensions.