NGO, Civil society too a 4th pillar of democracy: Prez

RSTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

Civil society and NGOs came in for a big praise by President Pranab Mukherjee, who described them as the fourth important pillar of democracy. The President was speaking with the students in a function held at a school in President’s Estate on the eve of the Teachers’ Day on Friday.

Incidentally, President’s opinions have come a day after Union Home ministry cancelled the registration of the NGO Greenpeace India. The Central government announced the cancellation in the view of the “continued violation of FCRA norms” by the Greenpeace India.

“There are three important pillars in our Constitution – legislative, executive and judiciary. The fourth organ I am talking about is civil society, including media, NGOs and all the public opinion which is being created,” President Pranab Mukherjee said.

The President also cited civil society agitation led over the issue of Jan Lokpal in 2010-11 that demanded a strong anti-corruption legislation Jan Lokpal Bill. Imparting vital lessons to the young minds, the President said the country’s Constitution gives “enormous flexibility” for expressing opinion to everyone, thus giving a space for even a dissenting view.

Terming the social networking and micro-blogging websites like Twitter and Facebook as “powerful instruments” of conveying and creating public opinion he added, “All these have been offshoots and outcomes of proper healthy democratic development. And that is the contribution of Indian democratic system.”

Teaching Class XI and XII students of Dr Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya located inside the President’s Estate, the President richly praised former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh for ushering economic liberalisation in the country in early 1990s.

Dubbing the poverty and resource constraints as a major challenge to India, President Mukherjee said, “Our basic problem is that somehow or the other, there have been some sort of imbalances on the various organs of the government not in the design”.

In an about one hour class on ‘Political History of India’, the President Mukherjee talked in detail about India’s Independence, economic growth and political journey of the country post Independence.

Later, in a separate session, he interacted with some of the teachers as well. There is a need for social recognition and financial security for the teachers to inspire them, the President firmly said.

(With inputs from the PTI)