GUWAHATI/KOHIMA (TIP): Women’s empowerment is on top of President Pranab Mukherjee’s agenda. During his visit to Assam and Nagaland, Mukherjee made the point by repeatedly mentioning the Nirbhaya incident and underlining the need to ponder and “reset the moral compass” of society.
The Delhi gang-rape had shaken the conscience of the nation, he said, adding that universities and academic institutions could play an important role in checking moral decline. “We are living in a difficult time. I am not only talking about the difficult time from the political perspective but mainly from the social perspective. Is it not high time for all of us, irrespective of where we are and what we are, to think and ponder over? Being social beings, being the product of social investment, are we not going to ponder over and reset our moral compass,” he said at an award function in Guwahati. While addressing university students in Nagaland, Mukherjee said these “unfortunate incidents” underscored the urgency to introspect the erosion of values and to devise effective measures for the safety and security of women and children.
“There is a need to identify the causes of moral decline in our society and our universities and academic institutions must take the lead to meet the moral challenge of our times and ensure that our civilisational values are fully entrenched in young minds,” he said. Quality education, innovation and research were other areas which the President said needed more focus. Mukherjee said education should stand on the three pillars of accessibility, availability and affordability. “The objective of education should be qualitative expansion over physical expansion. Only 0.4% of the budget allocation for education is spent on research.
This has to increase,” he said, emphasizing that there was a gap in terms of “quantity and quality”. He underlined the fact that not a single university or institute of technology of India found a place in the list of top 200 universities of the world.