Prez warns against deviation from Constitutional principles

Prez warns against deviation from Constitutional principles

Prez warns against deviation from Constitutional principles

President Pranab Mukherjee today warned that any deviation from the Constitutional principles and provisions would weaken the democratic fabric of the country and "jeopardise" social, economic and political well being of citizens.

In his opening remark at the 46th Governors Conference here, the President said Constitution was the only guiding document for providing framework for governance and asked governors to ensure peace and communal harmony.

"Every Indian looks forward to the Constitution as the guarantor of liberties, freedom and equality. Any deviation from the principles and provisions embodied in the Constitution would weaken the democratic fabric of the country and jeopardise the social, economic and political well-being of our citizens," he said.

The President said the Governors and Lt. Governors have the "primary responsibility" to ensure that the affairs of the states and Union Territories are conducted strictly in accordance with the letter and spirit of this hallowed document.

"Prevalence of peace and communal harmony must be ensured," he said at the inauguration of the two-day conference which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other cabinet ministers.

Dwelling upon international relations, the President said India follows a policy of maintaining peaceful relations with all countries and "all disputes, relating to our border areas or otherwise, should be resolved through peaceful means."

On the economic front, he said India is projected to have the largest workforce in the world by 2025, with a surplus of 47 million workers against a shortage of 56.5 million skilled workers in the world.

"This demographic dividend is a double-edged sword. If their huge potential is tapped, they could become a powerful engine for growth. On the other hand, if we fail to do so, it could create social tension," he warned.

He said the youth could become creators, innovators, builders and leaders of the future if they get proper education. "We must capitalise our advantage and enhance the employability of our youth through skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling," he said.

The President said skill development is also important for the success of the 'Make-in-India' campaign aimed at facilitating investment, fostering innovation and making India a world-class manufacturing hub.

He expressed hope that the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will evolve an appropriate skill development framework, remove the demand-supply disconnect for skilled manpower, promote Public-Private Partnerships and expand youth entrepreneurship education.

The President requested Governors and Lt Governors to use every opportunity to promote these initiatives as well as to play a persuasive role in the implementation of Jan Dhan Yojana.

Mukherjee said the development of North-East is a priority area where much needs to be done for infrastructure development and to harness its tourism potential.

"Ethnic violence in Assam needs to be countered effectively, especially the sinister motives to drive a wedge between Bodo and non-Bodo sections. The genuine aspirations of the Bodo people in terms of development must be addressed expeditiously. Under no circumstances can the spread of ethnic hatred be tolerated," he said.

Besides the Prime Minister, Governors and Lt Governors, the conference saw participation of union Minister which included Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

The President said over sixty percent of rural population does not have access to or use sanitation facilities. "We must reverse this position by addressing problem areas like affordability and mindset through innovative solutions".

"To deliver benefits effectively, the States and Union Territories should establish suitable administrative mechanisms to take Swachh Bharat Mission down to every village or ward. The Governors and Lt. Governors must use their persuasive skills and contribute to the achievement of this laudable objective," he said.

Speaking on issues relating to Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, the President called upon Governors and Lt. Governors to closely monitor development programmes in these areas for effective targeting, with special focus on quality of education and health.
He said Autonomous Councils/Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), set up under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, enjoy legislative, executive, financial and judicial powers.

"Governors of these states have a pivotal role to play in the administration of these areas. Village and municipal councils must be set up and elections conducted for decentralisation of power," he said.

A statement from the President's press office said he was happy to learn that the government is proposing to amend the Sixth Schedule to strengthen the democratic process in these areas. "There is also need to devolve more developmental funds to these areas. Laws prevailing in them also need to be codified," he said.

The statement said the agenda for the two-day Conference of Governors includes internal and external security with special focus on border states, financial inclusion, employment generation and achieving the goal of Swachh Bharat by 2019 on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary.

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