New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Friday called for India to swiftly "channelise restlessness of youth towards change" as the nation of 1.2 billion people was on the "cusp of a generational change".
In an oblique reference to the recent youth-led protests on the streets of the capital and elsewhere, that took the administration by surprise, Mukherjee also called on people's representatives to win back the confidence of the public, create avenues of employment for the benefit of both the youth and the country, and strive to fashion governance for the good of the society
"The anxiety and restlessness of youth has to be channelized towards change with speed, dignity and order," the president said in his first address to the nation on the eve of 64th Republic Day. Republic Day marks adoption of the Indian Constitution on Jan 26, 1950 when the nation became a sovereign, social, democratic republic.
"We are on the cusp of another generational change; the youth of India spread across villages and towns, are in the vanguard of change. The future belongs to them," he said.
The president said the youth are troubled by a range of existential doubts whether the system offers due reward for merit, have the powerful lost their righteousness in pursuit of greed, has corruption overtaken morality in public life and do legislatures reflect an emerging India or need radical reforms?
"These doubts have to be set at rest. Elected representatives must win back the confidence of the people," urged Mukherjee.
Noting "the young cannot dream on an empty stomach", the president said "they must have jobs capable of serving their own as well as the nation's ambitions".
Observing "it was time for the nation to reset its moral compass", he said: "We must look deep into our conscience and find out where we have faltered."
"The solutions to problems have to be found through discussion and conciliation of views. People must believe that governance is an instrument for good and for that, we must ensure good governance," he said.
About the recent flare up with Pakistan on the Line of Control, the president said: "India wants peace on the border and was always ready to offer a hand of friendship, but it should not be taken for granted".
Indirectly referring to recent killing and beheading of two Indian soldiers by Pakistan troops near the LOC, Mukherjee said: "In the recent past, we have seen serious atrocities on the Line of Control on our troops. Tension can be a subtext of frontiers. But sponsorship of terrorism through non-state actors is a matter of deep concern to the entire nation."
Stating there was no reason for people to despair, the president expressed hope India will change more in the next decade than in the past sixty years.
"Even the British sensed that they were leaving a land which was very different from the one they had occupied," he said.
"Its driving principle was a compact between state and citizen, a powerful public-private partnership nourished by justice, liberty and equality," said the president.