Technology can be great enabler in enhancing quality of life: President
"The ideals of Gandhiji are still relevant and will always remain relevant. However, with the changing times, it is important to renew the methods to achieve those ideals," the President said
NELLORE: Technology could be a great enabler in the endeavour to enhance the quality of life and dignity, particularly of those who reside in villages and toil on farms, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Friday.
Noting that the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, who focused on farming, sanitation, education and sustainable living, were still relevant, he stressed on using new methods to achieve those ideals, in tune with changing times.
Kovind was speaking at the 18th anniversary celebrations of Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu's Swarna Bharat Trust in Venkatachalam village in Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
"The ideals of Gandhiji are still relevant and will always remain relevant. However, with the changing times, it is important to renew the methods to achieve those ideals," the President said, adding, "In our endeavour to enhance the quality and dignity of life and work for those who reside in villages and toil on farms, technology can be a great enabler."
Asserting that the Swarna Bharat Trust was conceived drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi's 'back to the villages' slogan, Kovind said the Father of the Nation had spoken on the need for developing villages with amenities appropriate for a dignified and simple but prosperous life.
"He (Gandhiji) focused on farming, sanitation, education and sustainable living. His ideas and his basic philosophy are still very relevant. Today, we speak about eco-friendly fabric, but over a century ago, Gandhiji was urging people to spin cotton for their personal use," the President said.
The success of Swachh Bharat as a national mission, and in achieving the goal of universal availability of modern sanitation, was a tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 150th birth anniversary, he remarked.
Praising the Centre's programme of issuing soil health cards, Kovind said it assessed the need for specific nutrients and suitability for crops, and farmers across the country were benefiting from it.
"This is only one instance. There are several others. I am glad to learn that the Swarna Bharat Trust too emphasises on the use of science and technology, and innovation in helping rural communities," he said.
On the occasion, the President hailed Venkaiah Naidu as a "multifaceted personality and an 'ajatashatru' (one without enemies)".
"He is a thinking person and a deeply sensitive human being. The country is thankful to Nellore and to Andhra Pradesh for giving us our popular and well-liked Vice-President. Venkaiahji has done a lot to promote the rich Telugu culture and delicious Andhra food in Delhi," he said.
Noting that Naidu had told him the Swarna Bharat Trust was inspired by another exceptional individual Nanaji Deshmukh, the President said Nanaji was a reformist role model.
"He renounced the opportunity of high office to help transform rural communities into productive, self-sufficient units. His work in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh, is an example for the rest of the country," Kovind said.
In his address, the Vice-President urged the young generation to devote time, money, resources and ideas for the less-fortunate people.
"Go back to our roots, follow our culture, traditions and follow the good deeds of our forefathers. Join the national mainstream with a positive mind in promoting education, eradicating poverty, ending economic disparities," he said.
The country was moving forward and becoming one of the largest economies in the world, Naidu said and asserted that development must be inclusive.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, state ministers P Narayana, N Amarnatha Reddy, S C Reddy, Visakhapatnam MP Kambhampati Haribabu were amon those who were present on the occasion.
Earlier, the President flew to Venkatachalam village, on a special IAF helicopter from Chennai and spent some time at Venkaiah Naidu's ancestral home. Kovind later visited the Akshara School run by Swarna Bharat Trust and interacted with the students and witnessed a few cultural programmes presented by them.