Thus spake the president

Salient points of president's R-Day-eve address:

* In the last six decades there is much that we can be proud of. Our economic growth rate has more than tripled. The literacy rate has increased by over four times. After having attained self sufficiency, now we are net exporters of food-grain.

* The time has now come to ensure gender equality for every Indian woman. We can neither evade nor abandon this national commitment, for the price of neglect will be high. The civil society and the government must work together to fulfill this national goal.

* The brutal rape and murder of a young woman, a woman who was symbol of all that new India strives to be, has left our hearts empty and our minds in turmoil. We lost more than a valuable life; we lost a dream. If today young Indians feel outraged, can we blame our youth?

* It is time for the nation to reset its moral compass. Nothing should be allowed to spur cynicism, as cynicism is blind to morality. We must look deep into our conscience and find out where we have faltered.

* 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. They are today troubled by a range of existential doubts. Does the system offer due reward for merit?

* Elected representatives must win back the confidence of the people. The anxiety and restlessness of youth has to be channelized towards change with speed, dignity and order.

* We must ensure that the fruits of economic growth do not become the monopoly of the privileged at the peak of a pyramid. The primary purpose of wealth creation must be to drive out the evil of hunger, deprivation and marginal subsistence from the base of our expanding population.

* Figures mean nothing to those who do not benefit from them. We must act immediately, otherwise the current pockets of conflict, often described as "Naxalite" violence, could acquire far more dangerous dimensions.

* We believe in peace on the border and are always ready to offer a hand in the hope of friendship. But this hand should not be taken for granted.

* So far education has not reached, to the extent desired, to those most in need of this ladder. India can double its growth rate by turning today's disadvantaged into multiple engines of economic development.

* If India has changed more in six decades than six previous centuries, then I promise you that it will change more in the next ten years than in the previous sixty. India's enduring vitality is at work.

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