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Stating that the nation has achieved eight percent growth per annum during the Eleventh Five Year Plan period from a 3.5 percent growth rate per annum during the First Five Year Plan period, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said today India is the third largest economy in the world in purchasing power parity terms.
President Mukherjee, who delivered the 14th D.P. Kohli Memorial Lecture on 'Good Governance: Empowering Institutions, Society and Public' on the occasion of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Vigyan Bhavan here, said, 'the Green Revolution in the 1960s made our country self-sufficient in food grains'.
"We have also reduced the incidence of poverty. Today India is the third largest economy in the world in purchasing power parity terms," he added.
President Mukherjee said the nation can certainly be proud of these achievements, but added that much more remains to be done.
"The challenges to our governance systems are reflected in some important international analyses which are mainly dependent on the social index. India's ranking in key governance indicators like Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption are lower than countries such as Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US," said President Mukherjee.
"We are at the cross roads of transformation and cannot afford to lose the momentum of change. There are several challenges we face and we should face them with determination and conviction. And, at the root of them is the issue of governance," he added.
Asserting that India has achieved remarkable progress in several of the grids that constitute good governance, President Mukherjee said:" In some, our achievements have been greater than others. There is still immense scope to better our participatory decision making structure, improve the application of rule of law, enhance transparency, increase accountability, promote greater equity and inclusiveness and improve consensus based approach. For the sake of brevity, I will elaborate on some of the few grids."
"The incidence of poverty is still around 30 per cent and it is not something that we can live with. Statistics of economic progress will count for nothing if we are not able to uplift the marginalised sections of the society. Our growth, therefore, must have to be inclusive and sustainable," he added.
President Mukherjee said the Direct Benefit Transfer and unique identity system - Adhaar would increase transparency and reduce leakages and transaction costs.
"The 'Aadhaar' project, would provide every resident with a unique identification number. It would help our citizens, especially the poor and needy, to easily access several benefits and services more efficiently. The 'Direct Benefit Transfer' scheme, launched in January 2013, too would leverage the Aadhaar system helping the achievement of greater transparency and reduction in transaction costs," he said.
President Mukherjee said inclusiveness calls for equity in access to basic needs like education and healthcare.
"Our efforts should be directed at making the entire population literate. I am confident that the flagship schemes in the education sector, such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid-Day Meal Scheme and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan would be addressing many of our problems," said President Mukherjee.
"Affordable healthcare should be our priority. Many people in this country are forced into poverty due to high costs of medical treatment. It is gratifying to note that building on the success of the National Rural Health Mission, a new National Health Mission combining the rural mission and a new urban mission is being envisaged with a budget outlay of over Rs. 21,000 crore in 2013-14. A healthy population holds the potential to make greater contribution to nation-building," he added.
President Mukherjee further said the new terminology is empowerment through entitlement, which is backed by legal enactments.
"We have adopted a rights-based approach to our development process.
The Rights to Education, Employment and Food Security are the core of this development strategy. I wish this development strategy should be implemented fully," said President Mukherjee.
"To help empower our marginalized sections, we gave them the right to employment and education. We piloted legislations such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 and the Right toEducation Act, 2009. The process of enacting a law to provide food security to people is also in the process of completion," he added.
The 14th D.P. Kohli Memorial Lecture marked the inaugural ceremony of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of CBI. President Mukherjee unveiled the CBI 'Golden Jubilee Logo' today. He also honoured former CBI Directors and presented the President's Police Medals for distinguished services as also the DP Kohli Award for the best detective constable of CBI on this occasion.
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy were among the dignitaries present on the occasion. (ANI)