Gangrape left our hearts empty, says President

FP

Mukherjee also underlined the need to recognise the importance of youth but added that it was necessary to channelise their restlessness towards the betterment of the nation.

"We are on the cusp of another generational change; the youth of India spread across villages and towns, are in the vanguard of change. The future belongs to them. They are today troubled by existential doubts. Does the system offer due reward for merit? Have the powerful lost their dharma in pursuit of greed? Has corruption overtaken morality in public life? Does our legislature reflect emerging India or does it need radical reforms? These doubts have to be set to rest," he said

Mukherjee, however, maintained that there was no cause for despair, saying that the country had come a long way since Independence and "India had changed more in the last six decades than in six previous centuries". Marking the milestones, he said economic growth had more than tripled in six decades, the literacy rate had increased over four times and the country was now a net exporter of food grains.

However, he cautioned that in the pursuit for economic growth through reforms, the underprivileged should not be forgotten. "We must ensure that the fruits of economic growth do not become the monopoly of the privileged at the peak of a pyramid. The primary purpose of wealth creation must be to drive out the evil of hunger, deprivation and marginal subsistence from the base of our expanding population," he said.

He warned that problems such as Naxalism could acquire more dangerous dimensions if the divide between the rich and poor continued to grow.

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