Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat emphasised the need to redefine the country's growth strategy and make development inclusive.
"We need growth with equity, a growth that bridges the gap between the rich and the poor. The true yardstick of growth has to be in terms of overall content of people's welfare…and not percentage increase in GDP," he said in his Convocation Address at the Pondicherry University on Saturday.
Stating that poverty eradication and overcoming underdevelopment should be the main agenda for the country's progress, Shekhawat recalled that as Rajasthan chief minister in 1977 he had launched the antodaya scheme to uplift the poorest of the poor. The scheme, he said, could become an integral part of all pro-poor public programmes.
Universities, according to Shekhawat, can play an effective role in making the poor aware of their fundamental rights. They should promote and encourage research in subjects having far-reaching effect on improving the quality of life of the people.
At the same time, in the battle to be the best in the global arena, it was necessary to make all efforts to increase enrollments in different streams of higher education. At the moment, only about 7 per cent of the country's youth between 17-23 years get a chance for higher education.