President’s Address at The Function on The Foundation Day Of Kerala

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Pratibha Patil, presidentof IndiaNov 1: I am delighted to be here with you all at this function on the Foundation Day of Kerala and would like to congratulate the State and the people on the impressive achievements made since 1956. I am deeply touched by the warmth accorded to me at this civic reception and take this opportunity to convey my good wishes for the prosperity and progress of all the people of Kerala. I am also glad that on this occasion, imaginative programmes relating to Clean Kerala Mission, Total Physical Fitness and Scholarships for Higher Education are being launched.

In the last five decades, Kerala has progressed a great deal and today, it proudly stands at the forefront for its achievements in human development particularly in the fields of education, health and empowerment of women. The people of Kerala enjoy a quality of life that compares favourably with many developed countries in the world. This remarkable advancement has been possible due to the combined efforts of the Government, various political and social organizations and, more importantly because of the hard work, the spirit of openness and enterprise of the people of Kerala. Social development has contributed to the emergence of a progressive society. Achievements in the social sectors should be matched by sustainable economic growth and enhanced productivity. Kerala has great potential. It should harness its resources and focus on development of major sunrise industries like tourism, knowledge industry, health, exports etc.

Kerala is a land of exceptional natural beauty and is one of India’s top tourist destinations. Its tropical forests, its fascinating backwaters, misty hill stations, its many rivers, its beautiful lakes and its characteristic coconut trees have created “God’s own country”. The growth of tourism in Kerala is commendable and its further development could help in generating additional revenues and employment. Apart from good and reliable infrastructure, tourism hinges on a clean and green environment. Hence efforts should be to keep the environment unpolluted, the waters pristine and the air clean by adopting eco-friendly practices. An environment friendly Kerala would ensure that tourists continue to look forward to their travel to Kerala.

I am glad that the Action Plan for Clean Kerala Mission is being launched for environmental cleanliness, maintenance of public hygiene and prevention of diseases. It is significant that this Mission is being put into action after the State has made efforts to create awareness and to mobilize public opinion on the issue. Undoubtedly, public participation is crucial for the successful implementation of the Clean Kerala Mission.

Kerala is known for the highest quality of life indicators in the country but new challenges are cropping up. The return of communicable diseases is of serious concern particularly as the State has a very high density of population. The outbreak of diseases negatively impacts on the health of the people and the economy of the State. An effective way to combat such diseases is to have proper systems of waste management. The Clean Kerala Mission is timely and should go a long way in maintaining health and to further improve the quality of life of the people of Kerala. An action plan, with targets to be achieved, in a specified time frame is required to achieve the objectives of the Mission.

Recent research has revealed that Indians are becoming more vulnerable to lifestyle diseases like cardiac problems, diabetes etc. These diseases can often be managed by maintaining physical fitness. It is encouraging that Kerala is launching a State Total Physical Fitness Programme as also a Health Related Physical Fitness testing programme for school children. One of the most important goals of the Physical Education programme is to develop physical fitness and mental ability, thereby reducing health hazards. Physical fitness also fosters a sense of discipline in youth, a quality that is fundamental to orderly and responsible living. Ayurveda centres that exist in Kerala could be made an integral part of the health sector. In creating awareness about a healthy life, the high levels of literacy in Kerala would be greatly helpful.

A demographic challenge of Kerala is the increasing percentage of the elderly population. This has several implications in relation to health needs, work participation rate, dependence rate and pension requirements. Focused attention needs to be given to meet the needs of the elderly. On-site health care delivery can be provided to them through various measures such as provision of mobile medical units, organizing home visits to bed ridden elderly and training caregivers. Needs of the elderly population should form a part of the Healthy Kerala Mission.

In the health sector, nurses from Kerala have been rendering invaluable service in hospitals all over India and also overseas. I would like to applaud them for their selfless service in caring for the sick, a great humanitarian work.

Kerala leads the country in literacy levels and learning has always given a place of primacy in Kerala. The quest for information and knowledge has been the hallmark of Keralites. Continuous encouragement and opportunity should be given to the younger generation to be educated. The Scholarship Scheme for the higher education sector being launched today, under which 10,000 scholarships will be given, is a step in the right direction. The scholarship scheme will assist students in pursuing higher studies. Students and youth are the future of the country. It is important that they are given all possible opportunities to pursue their studies and it is their duty to work hard and follow the values of truth, tolerance and discipline. I congratulate those who have been awarded scholarships and wish all students success in their lives

A striking feature of Kerala’s developmental experience has been the growth of the service sector. A stable education system and a high literacy rate have endowed Kerala with the requisite human resources for further expansion in the service sector in particular the IT industry. Kerala should aim at developing, producing and marketing knowledge products and becoming a “knowledge hub” of the region. Necessary facilities for establishing centers for handling outsourced work and for setting up IT enabled services should be given importance. In this venture, the large Non-resident India community from Kerala could be useful partners and investments from them can be attracted through innovative schemes.

Kerala leads India in women’s education and female literacy. Also, Kerala is the only state in India where the sex ratio is above the equality ratio with 1058 females per 1000. I am glad to know that women in Kerala are occupying high positions in all fields of public activity such as the education, judiciary, medicine and engineering professions. Women’s participation is important for the general well being of a society as it helps in dealing with many social evils and brings multi-faceted benefits to society in terms of decreasing child mortality rate and improving the quality of life.

In facing the challenges of the future, the participation of people is very important. Kerala has achieved considerable success in strengthening local governments and decentralized development. It has taken steps to ensure the participation of all sections of people in planning, decision-making, generating resources and ensuring transparency and accountability to the village community. Democracy has been inherent in the thought and culture of Kerala. Today, parliamentary democracy in Kerala rests on the solid foundation of an educated, well-informed and discriminating electorate that accepted a diversity of views. Here a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society has co-existed in harmony for centuries, fostering a culture of inclusiveness and tolerance. Kerala truly symbolizes the concept of Unity in Diversity, the very idea that defines India.

In conclusion, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to the people of Kerala on this occasion and wish them a bright and prosperous future. While formally launching the Scholarship Scheme, the Action plan for the Clean Kerala Mission and Total Physical Fitness programme, I wish them success. I once again thank all of you for the warm reception extended to me.

Source: Press Information Bureau

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Sharmaji is deeply involved with Ayurveda since 15 years. His interest and passion led him to launch and about a decade ago. Most of the Ayurveda news and articles on this site are approved or published by him.

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