India’s demographic dividend needs to be fully leveraged: Venkaiah Naidu

CHENNAI: India’s biggest strength is its ‘demographic dividend’ and people need to fully leverage it to fast-track the country’s progress in various sectors, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said here on Sunday.
Naidu also called upon the youth of the country to be at the forefront in accelerating progress and scripting the country’s growth story. “One of our biggest strengths today is our demographic dividend. We need to fully leverage this to fast-track progress in different sectors — from agriculture to manufacturing and ensuring a sustained growth rate in coming years”, he said, after releasing a biography on the former President APJ Abdul Kalam at the Raj Bhavan.
The book — ‘Abdul Kalam-Ninaivugalukku Maranamillai’ (immortal memories) — has been penned by APJM Nazema Maraikayar, the niece of the late President and by noted space scientist YS Rajan. “This is the time for the youth of the country to be at the forefront in accelerating the progress and scripting India’s growth story”, Naidu said.
Paying rich encomiums to Kalam, who was known as ‘people’s president’, Naidu urged the youth to take a leaf out of the book and believe in themselves. He said that they must aspire to become job creators rather than job seekers.
Stating that Kalam would be remembered for his ‘indomitable spirit” and “never-say-die attitude”, Naidu said the former president “pursued and persisted with discipline, hard work and confidence”. “Along with the development of India’s indigenous satellite launch vehicles, he (Kalam) is also credited with the development of India’s integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP),” the vice president said.
Kalam can be credited with laying the strong foundation of ‘AtmaNirbharta’ in space and defence sectors on which scientists and engineers were building today, Naidu said.
“The legacy of self-belief that Kalam left motivated us to develop our own vaccine today. I must compliment the government and scientists for their untiring efforts in bringing out the vaccine for COVID-19. My hearty congratulations for the historic vaccination drive that kicked off yesterday”, he said.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s comments ‘My life is my message’, Naidu said, “This (the comment) very well be applied to Dr Kalam too, who practiced what he preached.”
Underlining the need to overhaul the country’s education system to make learning an enjoyable experience, right from primary education, Naidu said students must be encouraged to pose questions and think critically.
He said the Centre’s new education policy is a great leap in this regard, as it does away with artificial segregation between curricular and extra-curricular activities and aims at the holistic development of the child.
Referring to the book that he unveiled today, Naidu said the biography traces Kalam’s journey from his student days, including his family roots. “Many incidents are presented from the family’s point of view. I commend the authors for bringing out this book and enriching our understanding of Kalam”, Naidu said.

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