He also asked them to be in the forefront in eliminating casteism and religious fundamentalism.Delivering the first Prof. Yashwantrao Kelkar Memorial Lecture, in Mumbai on Thursday, he pointed out that the country was facing challenges on different fronts – about 20 percent of the population was still living in poverty and an equal percentage of people were illiterate.
M. Venkaiah Naidu cited instances of social, gender discrimination and atrocities against women, corruption, casteism and religious fundamentalism as some of the challenges.
On the external front, India was constantly facing the problem of cross-border terrorism, he added.Stressing the need for promoting nationalistic outlook among the youth and involving them in constructive nation-building activities, he said:
“All of us must strive to build a New India that is free of poverty, hunger, discrimination, and inequalities based on caste, creed, and gender”.
The Vice President advised student organizations such as Vidyarthi Parishad to instill the feeling of ‘nation first’ among the youth and encourage them to actively participate in national development.
He called upon the youth to work with a missionary zeal and determination to transform India into a prosperous and happy nation.
Stating that India has a great demographic dividend with more than 65% of its population below the age of 35 years, the Vice President stressed the need to impart knowledge and skills to youth for effectively meeting the challenges of technology-driven the 21st century.
Observing that this was the age of innovation, incubation, and start-ups, he called for tapping the entrepreneurial potential among the youth of the country.
Stating that changing the face of our rural and backward villages was essential for inclusive development, the Vice President said that the critical challenge was to deploy the best possible ideas in the innovation-led development of the rural areas of the nation, where 60 percent of its population lives.