Students Must Spend 5 Days in Villages as Part of ‘USR’ Activities, Says President Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday urged university students to visit rural villages for at least four-five days to usher in a “new wave of freedom movement.”

Delivering his first address to the nation on the eve of India’s 72nd Independence Day, Kovind said that as a part of ‘University Social Responsibilities’, students should visit villages to understand the problems ailing the less fortunate parts of the country and to work towards improving the situation of people living in those areas.

He said that the university students should visit villages at regular intervals and should engage with its residents and work towards improving the situation of cleanliness, literacy, immunisation and nutrition in these areas.

Kovind had made a similar appeal to the youth of the country earlier this year in a two-day governors’ conference held in New Delhi.

Appealing to the energy of the youth, Kovind said that while both the old and the young had participated in the Indian freedom struggle, it was the nation’s youth that had breathed fire into the movement. He also said that looking at the values, nationalism and the zeal of today’s youth was a more than satisfactory feeling for him.

On the issue of areas that had been left behind while the rest of the country had moved forward in the last seven decades, Kovind said that 117 more districts had remained untouched by schemes like the ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’. These areas, where the proportion of SCs and STs was far greater, who fell in the bottom of our social pyramid, were opportunities for people who wish to serve the nation.

The President also said that while our forefathers had made immense sacrifice and, at the cost of their lives, helped India achieve independence, as far as today’s India was concerned there were still some gaps that needed to be filled in order to fulfill the dreams of the India as envisioned by its freedom fighters.

“We have to give new meaning to the idea of freedom…appreciation of the work done by farmers, providing them better prices for their contribution, creating a supply chain of weaponry for our soldiers that guard us day and night...improving the lives of our paramilitary soldiers that work not just to establish law and order but to help the regions suffering from natural calamities...when we do all this that’s when we’ll create an idea free India.”

The President also stressed on the idea of providing better environment and freedom to the country’s women.

“Women contributed alongside men towards Indian freedom struggle. They have a right to live they want to, to live in an environment where they can make their own choices. When we provide them complete economic and social freedom, that’s when we make the India as it was dreamt by our forefathers.”

Finally, he said, that Indians should work relentlessly towards the progress of the nation and “shouldn’t get into issues that deflect attention from nation building.”