President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday cautioned that poor cannot wait for long and they need to get succour “here and now”, in remarks that come against the backdrop of demonetisation which, he said, may lead to temporary slow down of economy.
In a New Year video address to Governors and Lt Governors, he noted that the recent package announced by the Prime Minister will provide some relief.
“Demonetisation, while immobilising black money and fighting corruption, may lead to temporary slow down of the economy. We all will have to be extra careful to alleviate the suffering of the poor which might become unavoidable for the expected progress in the long term,” Mukherjee said.
He said while he appreciates the thrust on transition from entitlement approach to an entrepreneurial one for poverty alleviation, he was “not too sure that the poor can wait that long.”
“They (poor) need to get succour here and now, so that they can also participate actively in the national march towards a future devoid of hunger, unemployment and exploitation. The recent package announced by the Prime Minister will provide some relief,” he said.
There will be elections in as many as seven states this year and the dates for elections in five of them have already been announced, the President said.
“The conduct of free and fair elections has made our democracy one of the most vibrant in the world. Elections reflect the attitudes, values and beliefs of the people towards their political environment,” he said.
Cautioning about competitive populism, electoral rhetoric and vote bank politics during elections, Mukherjee said noisy debates can “deepen the fault-lines in the society”.
“Goodwill must prevail between different communities. At times, harmony may be put to test by vested interests. Communal tensions may rear their ugly head. Rule of law must form the sole basis of dealing with any such challenging situation,” the President said.