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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 07.09.2012

Youth participants of the 21st Know India Programme called on the Hon'ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan today.

Addressing the youth the President asked them to always keep in mind India's unity amidst extraordinary diversity, economic goal of inclusive growth and the fact that the key to attaining inclusive growth is spread of knowledge.

He described the Indian Constitution as a living document which is operationalized every day through statecraft and pointed out how India has been empowering people through the Right to Information, Right to Education and Right to Food which was a tremendous responsibility the Government will have to shoulder. He said the story of India was not a few paragraphs in a text book of history but the story of a vast multitude of human beings trying to find their rightful place in the comity of nations. The story of India is enacted everyday in its villages, fields, offices, factories, laboratories and classrooms. Expressing confidence that each one of them would take back with them in their hearts a little part of India, he encouraged the youth to continue to learn more about India based on the first hand experience they have acquired through participation in the programme.

Answering questions from participants, the President emphasized the importance of values for the youth and said we are fortunate to have learnt from our ancestors the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi were contemporary exponents of this philosophy. The same is enshrined in the Indian Constitution which has been described as a magna carta for the socio-economic transformation of a large majority of the human race.

Commenting on the influence of the western world on India, he said India has always been a open society with a continuous flow of cultural influences into India and from India to the outside. India assimilated foreign influences and redesigned them to suit its unique identity. English education and the parliamentary system are some of the contributions of the West to India. India added its own traditions of Sabha and Samiti to the democratic system. The President said every modern nation today is a product of assimilation and India has led in civilizational intercourse with other parts of the world.

The participants of Indian origin are from 11 countries and are in the age group of 18-26 years. The countries they belong to are New Zealand, Suriname, Malaysia, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, Iran, Slovak Republic and Israel.

The Know India Programme is a three week orientation programme for diaspora youths conducted by Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in partnership with one State Government. The objective of the Programme is to introduce India to the Group. The goal of MOIA is to link India's "Youth DIASPORA" with their country of origin. 20 such programmes have been organized by MOIA in partnership with various States. Its content includes visits to historical, cultural, industrial and administrative institutions in India, interaction with Indian media, NGOs and women organizations.

The first leg of this programme was from August 29 to September 7, 2012. From 8th to 15th September, 2012 they will visit Tamil Nadu and then come back to Delhi from 16th to 18th September, 2012.

This release issued at 1615 hrs