Former president Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said non-governmental organisations have a major role in accelerating the pace of development in rural areas of the country.
Underlining the importance of growth with equity, he said a rural growth strategy has become necessary to make a decisive impact on poverty and to trigger a development process that combines both.
Speaking at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the Hans Foundation, he said that "a major hurdle in the development of our nation is the pace of growth in remote and rural parts of the country."
"To accelerate this growth non-governmental organisations in the country have a major role to play in bridging this gap effectively," Mukherjee said.
He said that the strength of a nation is reflected by its health and economic status of women, children and young population.
The former president said as a nation, "we are still faced with poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, unemployment and many other social evils".
Stressing on the role of technology in bridging the gaps, he said technology has to be the vehicle to bridge distances-not only in terms of geography but also in terms of progress and development.
Mukherjee also spoke about measures taken at the community level for growth in rural areas.
He said the principles of community empowerment have to be adopted to increase the productivity of land, particularly rain-fed, degraded and wastelands.