Successful democracy, economy are directly linked: Mukherjee

New Delhi, Aug. 14 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday emphasized that there is a direct relationship between a successful democracy and economy as India is a people-driven nation.

"People serve their interests best when they participate in decision- making at the level of panchayat and other forms of local government. We have to rapidly empower the local bodies with functions, functionaries and finances to improve their performance," said President Mukherjee.

"Faster growth has given us the resources, but larger outlays have not translated into better outcomes. Without inclusive governance, we cannot achieve inclusive growth," he added.

In his address to the nation on the eve of India's 67th Independence Day, President Mukherjee said the debate between growth and redistribution is vital for a developing country of more than 1.2 billion people.

"While growth builds the scope for redistribution, redistribution sustains growth over time. Both are equally important. A disproportionate emphasis on any one, at the expense of the other, can have adverse consequences for the nation," he added.

President Mukherjee said the last decade has seen India emerge as one of the fastest growing nations in the world.

"During this period, our economy grew annually at an average rate of 7.9 per cent. We are today self-sufficient in food grains production. We are the largest exporter of rice and second largest exporter of wheat in the world. The record production of 18.45 million tonne of pulses this year augurs well for our march towards self-sufficiency in pulses," said President Mukherjee.

"This was unthinkable just a few years ago. This momentum has to be sustained. In a globalized world, with increasing economic complexities, we have to learn to cope better with adversities, both external and domestic," he added.

President Mukherjee further called for eliminating poverty from the country.

"At the dawn of our Independence, we lit the glowing lamp of modernity and equitable economic growth. To keep this lamp aflame, our highest priority has to be the elimination of poverty. Though a declining trend in the poverty rate is clearly visible, our fight against this scourge is far from over. India has the talent, ability and the resources to overcome this challenge," said President Mukherjee.

President Mukherjee further said the reforms that have enabled us to come this far have to be pursued at all levels of governance.

"Favorable demographic changes over the next two decades can pay us handsome dividends. It requires industrial transformation and rapid creation of employment opportunities. It also requires an orderly urbanization process," said President Mukherjee.

"Several initiatives taken by the Government in the recent past including the New Manufacturing Policy, the renewal of urban infrastructure and the ambitious skill training programme will need close monitoring in the coming years," he added.

President Mukherjee said the Direct Benefits Transfer Scheme, launched earlier this year, will bring in greater transparency, enhance efficiency and eliminate wastage of precious resources.

He also cautioned that the balance between man and nature should not be disturbed in the race for development.

"The consequences of such imbalance can be disastrous. My heartfelt condolences to the many who lost their lives, and the innumerable who suffered in Uttarakhand; and my salutations to those brave personnel of our security and armed forces, government and NGOs who did so much to alleviate suffering," said President Mukherjee.

"This tragedy owes as much to the avarice of human nature as to the rage of Mother Nature. This was nature's wake-up call. And it is time to wake up," he added. (ANI)

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