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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 01.07.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee attended the concluding ceremony of the Birth Centenary Celebrations of Late Shri Vasantrao Naik, former Chief Minister today (July 1, 2013) at Mumbai.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said it gave him immense pleasure to participate in the concluding ceremony of the Birth Centenary Celebrations of Late Shri Vasantrao Naik. Under Shri Naik’s leadership, Maharashtra witnessed stable one-party government from 1965 to 1975. It must be noted that this was a period of great turbulence at the national level.

The President said he met Mr. Naik first when he was Minister of state for Banking and Finance. He held number of discussions with Shri Naik at that time on the establishment of Regional Rural Banks and for providing institutional credits to farmers in the rural areas. He was struck by Shri Naik's knowledge of the conditions in rural India and the situation of the farmers. Shri Naik's tenure as a Chief Minister of Maharashtra is important not only for the length of tenure but also because he provided economic and political stability in state when the rest of country was passing through instability. Shri Naik was a distinguished son of India who made immense contribution not only to Maharashtra but also to the rest of country.

The President said Shri Naik launched the revolutionary Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme which proved to be a boon for millions of farmers ravaged by two ferocious famines afflicting the state. The Planning Commission later approved the scheme and the same was adopted on national scale. This is the programme known today as MNREGA.

Receiving the first copy of ‘Chaturasra’, the President said that he is happy that Shri Naik’s selected speeches are being brought out as a book on this occasion. It’s contents brings out in colorful detail his overall personality and his approach to the daunting problems of Maharashtra. He expressed the hope that the volume would encourage students of political science to undertake serious research on Shri Naik’s role in the shaping of modern Maharashtra. He also said that translating the book into English would be of help to scholars outside Maharashtra who can learn about the life and thoughts of Shri Naik.

This release issued at 1750 hrs