Home >> Press Releases >> Press Release Detail


Rashtrapati Bhavan : 05.04.2017

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee addressed the special plenary of the Summit on ‘Mentoring Grassroots Entrepreneurs in Smart Grams for Inclusive Growth’ today (April 5, 2017) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that if India has to become a great economic power, it has to invest heavily in innovation and entrepreneurship. Every Indian mind is an innovative mind. It has the potential to come up with the solution to our problems. We need people to turn problems into opportunities and work at expanding the scale of operation.

The President said that India will grow when whole of India grows. With 68 percent of our population still living in villages in the rural areas, smart development can take place only if villages and villagers become smart. Last year, in the month of May the President’s Estate became a Smart Township. He was convinced that the initiative undertaken in the President’s Estate can, with some experimentation, be extended to our villages. Central to his thought process was Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a self-reliant village. Our new Gandhian model is an effort to develop a policy paradigm based on convergence of resources of both the Central and State governments, PRIs, public and private sector organizations, NGOs and enlightened citizens to make our villages economically vibrant, socially harmonious and to the extent possible, self-reliant. He stated that under the Smart Gram initiative, we are working in the fields of infrastructure development, health and wellness, education, agriculture, energy and skill development and entrepreneurship and have so far made substantial progress. The five villages today have 24x7 electricity, Common Service Centers, Training Centers and medical clinics and wellness centres. So far, more than 30 organizations have joined the SMARTGRAM consortium. These include, government organizations, public, private and philanthropic organizations, academic institutions and of course the villagers themselves. He stated that encouraged by our early successes, we have expanded the project from 5 to 50 villages in the region in the month of February this year. He said that he was confident of expanding this project to 100 villages by the end of May, 2017.

The President said that today, roughly, 12 million youth enter into the labour market every year. Population below the age of 35 years is about 65%. The Indian innovation strategy has to focus on generating ideas that promote inclusive growth and benefit those who are at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. Imparting skill and providing gainful employment is essential for meeting the demographic challenge and for harnessing the enthusiasm, energy and ambition of our youth to contribute to economic development. India has a huge domestic market and this provides an advantage for the enterprises that use local material and technologies to produce low cost but good quality products for the market. Let us all take this mentoring movement for entrepreneurship development forward.

On the occasion, the Secretary to the President, Smt. Omita Paul said that Smart Gram is an initiative of President Mukherjee aimed at transforming rural areas into sustainable spaces by developing infrastructure, building skills and creating jobs at the local level. The central theme for converting Rashtrapati Bhavan into a 4 ‘H’ – heritage, humane, hi-tech and happy – township was creating an eco-system that spreads happiness and promotes the well-being of the residents. The same theme has been carried forward in our concept of Smart Grams where happiness and harmony are of paramount importance. She stated that the focus of Rashtrapati Bhavan is on creating a sustainable and inclusive development model that can be easily replicated. This model is based on the convergence of resources and effort by the Central Government, State Government, District Administration, Panchayati Raj Institutions, public sector, private sector and enlightened villagers.

The Summit is being organized by the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST), as part of its Silver Jubilee Celebrations with the aim of supporting employability initiatives in the country and encouraging youth to take up entrepreneurship. The day-long Summit had sessions on various themes including setting a national agenda for youth entrepreneurship for inclusive growth and promoting 'Smart Grampreneurs'; Gurukul Diaries: in conversation with a Mentor; and "Entrepreneurship: How it can power urban development. Besides, ‘Guftgu’ – a freewheeling dialogue on mentoring was also held.

On the occasion, President also presented BYST Young Grassroots Entrepreneur Awards in various categories.

This release issued at 2020 hrs.