In extempore remarks made during the annual endowment lecture of Intelligence Bureau here, he referred to the conventional thought of democracy which meant periodical elections and review of performance of the Government but that has changed now. “Just 10 years ago nobody could think of the social activists, non-governmental organizations...
“We shall have to agree and if we cannot....keep it under carpet...These are the types of challenges which we are facing today,” he said in an apparent reference to the adoption of the Lokpal bill for which a spirited campaign was mounted by Hazare in the last over two years. Referring to Hazare’s movement, Mukherjee said when it was at its height more than two years ago Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked him to head Group of Minister to have negotiations with the anti-corruption campaigner.
He said he was even asked during a trip in Vietnam as to how he would respond to that movement.
Maintaining that he was responding as a student of politics, he said “it is opening new dimensions of our democratic structure which we shall have to address and what is that new dimension.”
Earlier, he said, it was thought that democracy meant people would choose their elected representatives who will make legislations for them and administer for them. At the end of that stipulated period “we shall have an account from them how have we been successful or not”. However, the President said there was no room for pessimism nor for complacency. “These are the problems staring at us. National unity and integrity—125 crore people we have to keep together.” On empowering people, Mukherjee said it immediately poses opportunities and challenges.
“I do agree there is a necessity to have a paradigm shift in our developmental strategy by providing empowerment and empowerment can be provided not by expressing intention but only by backing of legal enactment,” he said.
Buttressing his argument, he said people equipped with RTI expose the government.
“By amending this section, by amending that section, we try to resolve the problem for a short while. But it is a power which people are enjoying, are effectively using, sometimes even misusing but challenges are coming and those challenges will have to be addressed. “Food security, RTE, Right to jobs, these entitlements we shall have to provide and for that the challenges that the system will throw we shall have to answer that,” he said. (PTI)