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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 24.05.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee attended the annual convocation of Himachal Pradesh University at Shimla today (May 24, 2013).

Speaking on the occasion, the President said education is a necessary tool for national progress, human empowerment and social change. The rising incidents of crime against women and children call for effective measures to ensure their safety and security. It also underlines an immediate need to arrest the moral decline in our society. We must find answers for reversing the degradation of values. Our universities have the capability to shape the minds of the youth. These temples of higher learning must act as guides in meeting the contemporary moral challenges and ensure that our civilizational values of love for motherland; performance of duty; compassion for all; tolerance for pluralism; respect for women and elderly; truth and honesty in life; discipline and self-restraint in conduct, and responsibility in action are fully entrenched in the young minds.

The President said a nation’s development is dependent in a large measure on its educational status. Our strategy of high economic growth is to overcome poverty and ensure development for all. We have to make economic growth relevant for our people, especially those at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. Distributive justice, as a higher goal of democratic polity, can be achieved only through a sound education system. India’s demographic structure is changing, and by 2025, over two-third Indians is expected to be in the working age category. To gain from this transition, our youth must be prepared through quality higher education and vocational training.

The President said decade of 2010-20 has been declared as the decade of innovation. This should carry meaning for the common man. There are grass root innovations that require technological and commercial mentoring for developing them into viable products. In a Conference of the Vice Chancellors of Central Universities held this year, a recommendation was made to set up Innovators Clubs in the Central Universities to facilitate interaction between the teaching and student communities and grassroots innovators. He invited all present to join the festival of innovations.

This release issued at 1725 hrs