The need of the hour is for people to stay united, shun violence and work towards equality in all aspects to enable India progress, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said here on Sunday.
Speaking after inaugurating an exhibition, ‘New India resolve to achieve’, to mark the platinum jubilee of the Quit India Movement at Anna University here, he said that seven decades after the country had achieved Independence, issues such as poverty, illiteracy, gender inequality and caste discrimination were still prevalent.
“We must all resolve to fight these evils and work towards the country’s progress,” Naidu, on his maiden visit to Chennai after becoming vice-president, said.
“The challenge before society is to eradicate corruption, social discrimination, gender bias, female infanticide, dowry.
We must resolve and fight these social evils together.”
He termed the recent Supreme Court verdict on ‘triple talaq’ a historic one and said it would go a long way in ending gender discrimination.
“In a country where Goddess of education is Saraswathi, Goddess of wealth is Lakshmi, and Goddess of valour is Durga, it is a shame that atrocities against women are still persisting in society. This should be eliminated,” he said.
He also urged the political leadership at the central and state levels to work to fight these evils.
“There is no place for violence in a democratic society and must be curbed. We have to stand united against it. If violence takes place, people are the losers,” he said while referring to violence in some parts of the country.
Also, he said, “terrorism is an enemy of humanity. It has no colour or religion. People have to stand united against terrorism in any form.”
Naidu also batted for finding ways to make agriculture profitable and sustainable for the farming community and said, “We are a huge population, we can’t sustain on imported food alone and need to produce our own food.”
“There is a need to focus on agriculture and the governments should implement policies and programmes to substantially increase the income of farmers, sustain agriculture otherwise there is a danger of people from rural areas moving to urban areas,” the vice-president said.
He also said that the time had come to bridge the urban-rural divide and ensure equality of all.
“Urban and rural divide needs to be bridged. Social discrimination needs to be weeded out. Division on the basis of caste and religion have no place in the country.”
Naidu further said it was imperative to preserve the freedom, which was won after a long struggle.
He exhorted the people, especially the youth, to resolve to eliminate casteism, communalism, corruption, gender bias, illiteracy and poverty.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananthkumar elaborated on Naidu’s journey from a student leader to a political leader to the country’s vice-president.
He said Naidu had been instrumental in bringing in several welfare measures and initiating the project to provide roads to rural areas across the country.
“Naidu ji is south India’s representative in Delhi and represents their concerns as the country’s vice-president,” he added.
He urged the youth to learn about the sacrifices of the freedom fighters and the Quit India Movement, which was a huge turning point in India’s struggle for independence.
The Union minister said people should resolve to make India free of corruption, filth, communalism, casteism, illiteracy and terrorism and work towards making the country a superpower.
In some good news for Tamil Nadu, he said the intake of students at the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology would be increased from 1,200 to 5,000, and added that there was a great demand for plastic engineers these days.
Further, Ananthkumar said the central government was ready to open 500 ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras’ (medical stores) in Tamil Nadu, where generic medicines would be made available at an affordable cost.
The Union minister also said the government had reduced the price of stents so as to make it affordable for all sections of people, and knee implants.
Tamil Nadu Minister for Fisheries and Personnel and Administration D Jayakumar, who delivered a special address, said that Naidu was “a great friend” of the state and had helped implement several infrastructure projects.
He also praised Naidu’s rise from a leader, respected across the political spectrum, to the post of vice-president.
The state government was determined to uplift all economically backward families, Jayakumar said.
State Minister for Higher Education K P Anbalagan also addressed the gathering.