India transiting through unprecedented demographic change:Prez

NEW DELHI, Sept 9: Noting that the country is transiting through an “unprecedented demographic change”, President Pranab Mukherjee today said it was important to focus on youth and noted that the Bharat Scouts and Guides movement can provide the necessary leadership to them.

Mukherjee also lauded the role of Bharat Scouts and Guides for spread of friendship and cooperation and to work for national integration and international harmony.

Giving away awards to the Scouts and Guides for their distinguished services, he appreciated the movement, which has grown from a mere 3 lakh in 1961 to 51 lakh now, for providing a helping hand during Uttarakhand floods as well as during Kumbha Mela and other occasions.

“We are, today, only too aware of the social conflicts that can threaten our rapidly transforming society. Our nation is presently transiting through an unprecedented demographic change. In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old. This should indicate how important it is for us to focus, today, on our youth.

“While we speak of inclusive growth, it is the leaders at the grassroots who will be the agents of change. I am confident that the Scouts and Guides Movement can effectively provide this leadership where it is needed – at the bottom of the pyramid,” Mukherjee said.

The President said, “My simple message: your country is proud of you. You represent a highly motivated and well-organised body of dedicated youth. You have proven to be a very efficient voluntary movement, non-political in nature, that has purposefully engaged in the building of an enlightened and progressive society.”

“I would emphasise that in our quest for higher standards of living, we must equally seek to create higher standards of social order. We must be increasingly mindful of sensitivities of those around us – and how they may be affected by our words and deeds.

“While we endeavour to eliminate the problems that distort our social development, and as we address imbalances, we must collectively identify the values that have, over the centuries, served to safeguard the pluralistic and secular fabric of our society,” Mukherjee noted.

The President also gave away awards for distinguished service to many including Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra. (PTI)