The President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy this week at Rashtrapati Bhavan Auditorium, New Delhi.
Addressing an elite gathering of political leaders, ministers, journalists, scholars and diplomats, the President said that the Hindu has been a participant in India’s struggle for independence. There is need for a research center where there could be dialogue and discussions and where the challenges that India confronts can be analyzed in an objective manner from different perspectives. The Hindu Centre could be the most appropriate forum for such discussions.
The President said there is a sense of frustration not just in India but across the world. Debate and discussions, dissension and decisions constitute the essence of democracy. It is unfortunate that disruption has become a part of Parliamentary functioning. It is not clear whether this disruption puts any serious pressure on the government. The only purpose it serves is to deny other members of Parliament their legitimate right to express views. The question hour also often becomes casualty because of such disruption.
He said that there is need for electoral reforms. Any democratic system survives on the strength of institutions such as independent judiciary, free press etc. We need to study how our institutions can be made more effective. The Parliament is the sole authority to give approval for expenditure of the Government. It is unfortunate that not enough time is being devoted to discussions on financial matters in Parliament.
The parliamentary system needs to be strengthened. There is need to study government at the third tier and how genuine devolution of powers can be undertaken. We need to find ways to address corruption and cynicism. Informed debates and discussion will benefit all of us and the system as a whole.
The President expressed deep appreciation for the objectives of the Hindu Centre and its desire to function as a Public Policy Resource Outlet. He said the Hindu has served the nation over 134 years. He expressed hope that the Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy would become an important platform for research and discourse on all issues vital to Indian politics and public policy.
Dignitaries who attended the event included former Prime Minister Shri HD Deve Gowda, UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi, BJP leader Shri L.K. Advani, CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat, Ministers Shri Farooq Abdullah, Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Shri G.K. Vasan, Shri Jitin Prasada, Shri Shashi Tharoor etc.
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