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New Delhi : The President of India Ram Nath Kovind on July 26, 2018, dedicated a medical college and hospital to the nation and addressed a public gathering at Baliram Kashyap Memorial College Campus, Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the essence of our country lies in regions such as Bastar. If one wants to experience the soul of India, one must come here. And in the development of rural and tribal areas lies the development of India.

The President said that this is a moment of dramatic changes in India. Great efforts are being made for the welfare and development of rural and tribal communities. Housing for all especially for the poor with facilities for a toilet, drinking water and electricity, are a national endeavour. New schools and educational institutions including IITs and AIIMS are being established, he said. Skills-based training is being imparted to young people. Fellow citizens from smaller locations and with moderate incomes are experiencing air travel at affordable rates. Gradually, the gap between the well-off and the not-so-well-off is becoming smaller, President Kovind said, according to a PIB release.

The President said that ordinary citizens too are taking initiatives to achieve such goals. He shared the story of the late Kunwar Bai, a remarkable lady from the Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. He said that she became an ambassador for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Devoted to the cause of cleanliness and hygiene, she sold the few goats she had to pay for a toilet in her house. This inspired many others in the district and Dhamtari began to do well on Swachh Bharat benchmarks.

The President said that it is unfortunate that some of our people have been misled by Naxalism and have tried to foment violence and create an environment of fear. Violence is not part of India’s culture and traditions. It has no place in our Constitution, the President said. He was happy to note that dedicated people in society and in the administration have tried to win the confidence of such young people. He stated that this is a welcome step and will strengthen the effort for peace and development.

The President said that at Heeranar on July 25, he experienced the integrated farming technique being used by the farmers and by women self-help groups. He met people who are running a rice mill and are engaged in agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, poultry, bee-keeping and organic farming. They are working with great energy on the same campus. He also met women who are running the Danteshwari e-Rickshaw Service. It was very moving to see them at work.

“Our tribal sisters are working very hard to shape the future of their children and their families,” the President said. “They are an inspiring example of empowerment and enterprise among women in our country. When female incomes rise, the family benefits that much more – for the money is put to good use. That is why the economic empowerment and financial literacy of women is crucial for the development of this region and of every family here – and of our society and country,” he said.

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