The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu today called terrorism as the common enemy of humanity, peace and development. He also called upon the civil society all over the world to collaborate and create a global consensus at platforms such as UN for strong policy framework against the all forms of terrorism.Addressing the centennial celebrations of Rotary International in India in Kolkata today, the Vice President said that peace is a prerequisite to development and everyone should work to curb the menace of terrorism.The Vice President stressed that India believes in peaceful coexistence and wants peace with all its neighbours. Ours is a country that has never invaded any country in our long history, he said and appealed to all countries to come together to eradicate illiteracy and poverty from the world.Shri Naidu said that NGOs should take lead in the poverty eradication and socio-economic empowerment of the marginalized sections of the society. He asked the civil society organisations to supplement the efforts of the governments for sustainable and inclusive growth.Highlighting that more than 60 percent of Indians still live in villages, the Vice President wanted every livelihood project to factor in this aspect and focus on strengthening the rural economy.“Lack of basic amenities and employment opportunities in rural areas are causing forced migration. We should seriously work towards bridging this rural-urban divide”, he said.Expressing concerns over the declining interest among youth to take up agriculture as profession, Shri Naidu asked the organizations like Rotary to train and skills the youngsters to become agri-entrepreneurs.The Vice President also stressed the need to encourage the farmers to diversify and take up allied activities like poultry, fisheries, and floriculture. “It would it would ensure a regular source of income for them and thus help to withstand the vagaries of nature”, he added.Shri Naidu appreciated the good work being done by the Rotary International in the field of education and health services and appealed to all stakeholders to work for a poverty free India.
The Vice President also called upon the NGO community to work towards a 100 percent literate India by providing much needed essential literacy to adults who missed the literacy bus and getting the street children into the formal school structure. He also called for modernizing the classrooms with electronic blackboards and creating Happy Schools by improving the basic infrastructure in the schools. He called upon everyone to make India a Vishwa Guru again.“Teachers, especially in various government schools need constant training”, he said.In addition to promoting literacy, the Vice President suggested NGOs to focus on imparting livelihood skills for youth and women so as to enable them to supplement their families’ income.Calling water conservation as the need of the hour, Shri Naidu appealed to everyone to become a partner in the Government’s efforts for water conservation. Noting that the Jal Shakti Ministry plans build more than one lakh check dams in India in coming five years, he appreciated the Rotary’s move to build more than ten thousand check dams.The Vice President said that share and care is the core of Indian philosophy and since time immortal, Indian society believed in “living together” and “working together”. In the past, it used to be a common practice for the rich to come to the aid of the poor in the villages, he said.Appreciating the role of Rotary in eradicating polio, Shri Naidu said that the history of Polio eradication in India has shown that the government and committed NGOs can forge effective and successful partnerships.“I would like to see more such partnerships for the betterment of the communities at large”, he said.Highlighting need to promote philanthropy in today’s consumer-driven and materialistic world, Shri Naidu called for inculcating compassion and the qualities of sharing and caring from childhood. Children need to develop empathy and not sympathy for the less fortunate, he said.He exhorted the organisations like Rotary to involve schools and colleges in community-service to enable the children to develop the spirit of volunteerism and spiritual values from a young age. He even suggested that the New Education Policy must also seek to promote the spirit of volunteerism among the students and also earmark certain marks for such activities.“together we have to turn the programs like Beti Bachao -Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, Fit India, Yoga into people’s movement. We have to create a society which does not discriminat with anybody because of his cast, creed or gender”, Shri Naidu said.The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Jagdeep Dhankar, Minister for Science & Technology and Biotechnology, Govt of West Bengal, Shri Bratya Basu were among the 4000 delegates from 32 countries present at the event.