Terming corruption a cancer affecting the nation, President
Pratibha Patil Sunday said there cannot be just one panacea to
deal with the menace, and a system of transparency and
accountability needs to be put in place at various levels.
"Corruption is a cancer affecting the nation's political,
economic, cultural and social life. It is necessary to eliminate
it," said Patil in her address to the nation on the eve of the
65th Independence Day.
Though she did not refer to the ongoing debate on the need for a
strong Lokpal, the president said: "There cannot be just one
panacea or remedy to deal with corruption, but a system of
transparency and accountability should be put in place at various
levels and effectively enforced."
The president also said that we should not forget that we have to
preserve democracy and uphold healthy conventions of parliamentary
The president said that pursuing the anti-corruption agenda would
require preventive and punitive measures and a rational approach,
besides strong institutions and good governance.
She asked the government, parliament, the judiciary and society at
large to ponder over corruption and find ways to handle it.
The president suggested electoral reforms, including state funding
of elections and debarring criminals from participating in
elections, to cleanse the system.
She said the government was committed to providing common people
opportunities to progress and to eradicating poverty, hunger,
disease and illiteracy.
The country has performed well economically with a growth rate of
8.6 percent last year and the government was pursuing an inclusive
growth agenda, the president said.
Stressing that the growing gross domestic product (GDP) along with
the welfare of the people were the twin pillars of a progressive
nation, Patil said that anti-poverty programmes, social welfare
schemes and a commitment to ensure food security formed the core
of the government's inclusive growth agenda.
The president called for greater use of technology in the
agriculture sector to ensure better productivity and increased
focus on issues like labour shortage.
She said that the government may need to examine whether the
existing rural employment programmes could be utilised for
agricultural land of farmers, whether small holders or otherwise,
in rain-fed areas.
She stressed upon the augmentation of warehousing and cold storage
facilities for agricultural produce in the country. "Warehousing
will make food distribution not only easier and quicker, but it
would be a low cost option that also cuts on wastage during
transportation," she said.
Patil called on the corporate sector as well as small and medium
enterprises to seriously engage with agriculturists, particularly
in rain-fed areas, to avail of the many opportunities of working
together for mutual benefit.
"Let the public sector entities take the lead in this regard. The
integration of agriculture with the other sectors of the economy
would not only be useful for agriculture, but would generate
positive impulses in other sectors as well," the president added.
In the wake of fears about a possible global economic slowdown,
she said that the Indian economy had fundamental strength and
resilience and its large domestic market could help it maintain
"Uncertainty is again confronting the world economy, and would
need to be tackled through co-ordinated global action, as also by
suitable precautionary measures in our country," said the
The president also stressed that the issue of price rise had to be
tactically dealt with. She said that rising prices affected
families, especially those living below the poverty line.
Observing that the July 13, 2011, blasts in Mumbai were a grim
reminder that terrorism is posing a threat to global peace, the
president asked the country to be ever-vigilant to fight the
Expressing grief over the country's declining sex ratio, she said
it reflected the bias against the girl child in Indian society and
called for fighting such social prejudices.
"Our census sadly shows that there has been a decline in the
gender ratio in the 0 to 6 age group. It has touched a low level
of 914 girls as compared to 1,000 boys. It reflects the continuing
preference of boys in our society and the bias against the girl
child," Patil said.
"We have to work to eradicate the practices of dowry, child
marriage and female foeticide which we are continuing to battle
even in the 21st century," she said.