Political democracy cannot be strong in the absence of economic and social democracy, which can be achieved through entrepreneurship and financially self-reliant individuals, President Ram Nath Kovind said here on Sunday.
"Improvement in the economic condition of the deprived sections is imperative. Many initiatives taken under the 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' and 'Sabka Samman, Sabka Utthan' are with this aim to strengthen democracy through entrepreneurship," he said at the inauguration of the 'Economic Democracy Conclave' organized by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini here this morning.
"These programmes have a singular goal of strengthening economic and social democracy, with the idea that if anyone has to really help someone, then he/she should be made financially self-reliant," he said.
Kovind, however, also noted that the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture cannot be the sole responsibility of the government and the family, educational institutions, private sector banks, NGOs, all should help to create an environment where private enterprise is encouraged.
"Together, we should create a culture in which self-employment is not chosen just due to the compulsion of not getting a job. The idea of becoming a job-giver instead of job-seeker should be embraced," he urged.
The President pointed to programmes like Venture Capital Funds for money planning, Start-up India, Stand-up India and for backward classes entreprenuers and called upon the youth from all sections to take advantage of these to make themselves self-reliant.
On opportunities, he said that now four percent of total procurement of central government and public enterprises has been made mandatory from entrepreneurs hailing from SC/ST categories.
The most fundamental work in the direction of 'economic democracy' is in the form of public funding since having a bank account is the first step to take part in the process.
Towards this end, the government's Jan Dhan Scheme has enabled more than three crore people to open bank accounts of which 52 percent are women.
Later in the afternoon, President Kovind visited Gorai in north Mumbai and laid the foundation stone for the second Dhammalaya meditation centre at the Vipassana Global Pagoda, which is the world's biggest Pagoda.