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Growth should improve standards of all: President

Pranab-Mukherjee

Hyderabad: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said growth would be meaningful and inclusive only if it results in improving the standards of the last needy man.

Inaugurating the 98th annual conference of the Indian Economic Association (IEA) here, he laid emphasis on providing adequate employment opportunities.

“With the bulk of our population in the working age group, it becomes imperative for government and the policy makers to come up with policies for achieving growth with job creation. Growth which favours the top deciles or an even lower proportion of the population can never be sustainable or desirable,” he said.

Mukherjee said balancing growth with equity and social justice was a fundamental requirement of our democratic polity, and asked economists to undertake on urgent basis a careful study of not just income disparities but also of their source.

Pointing out that Indian economy withstood the US financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis with minimal economic downturn, he said there was a need to capitalize on these inherent and intrinsic strengths and create not only more jobs for youth but also an entrepreneurial eco-system.

“Youth today does not wait for opportunities, but creates them; the number of start-ups and their annual turnovers are clear indicators in this direction. We have Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella rising from the Indian educational system and heading top global companies. We need to strive to create such employability for our youth on domestic soil too and this would be the litmus test for our economists and policy planners.”

The president said the Paris Declaration or the green proposals for attaining socially just and environmentally sustainable livelihoods, shows the commitment of the world economies to the cause of environment. India being an important world player has to play a critical role towards attainment of these sustainable development goals, he added.

Stating that India with over 700 universities including 44 central universities and around 36,000 colleges, has one of the largest higher education systems in the world, he said it was a matter of concern that till very recently there was not single university figuring in the global top 200.

“It is only now, after concerted efforts and policy interventions that two of our institutions – Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and IIT Delhi- have broken into the top 200 globally in September this year,” Mukherjee noted.