In her speech Mahajan pitched for inclusive economic growth to reduce the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
“Our past tells us how civilisational strengths may steer us through the contemporary challenges,” Mahajan said, adding, “I strongly feel that development at the cost of our culture is not sustainable.”
Mahajan also batted for ensuring effective delivery of schemes which target people at the bottom of the socio-economic strata go a long way in eradicating poverty.
“Integral humanism is the basis for development as it espouses indigenous economic model that puts the human being at the centre stage,” Mahajan said while quoting BJP ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
She also mentioned that India is expected to incur an expenditure of about USD 565 billion per annum in the next 15 years to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mahajan further said these goals lay emphasis on achieving a balance between the three pillars of economic growth, social development and environmental protection.
“I personally feel that this approach somehow was very much required in our contemporary growth and development strategy. This is very close to the philosophy of life that our region has espoused for in last several centuries,” Mahajan said.
Stressing on the role of parliamentarians as the bridge between people and their government, the eight-time MP said, “As elected representatives, it is our duty to ensure that our respective governments take concrete measures for realising these sustainable development goals.”
Mahajan also spoke about fighting issues like discrimination against girl child and child marriage.
Besides Mahajan, Dr M Thambidurai, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha; Saber Chowdhury, President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU); Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, Speaker of Afghanistan’s National Assembly; Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament; Jigme Zangpo, Speaker of National Assembly of Bhutan and Tshering Dorji, Deputy Chairperson of National Council of Bhutan are part of the event.
Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament; Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, Speaker of Maldives Parliament; Onasari Gharti, Speaker of Nepal Parliament, and members of Parliaments from the participating countries were all present at the event.
Pakistan and Myanmar did not take part in the summit.
Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly Speaker Sitasaran Sharma, among other dignitaries, was also present at the inaugural function.
The summit will have a Plenary Session on Identifying Resources for SDGs Implementation in South Asia: Opportunities for Parliamentary Cooperation, a release said.
The Summit also proposes to adopt ‘Indore Declaration’ at the closing ceremony on February 19, the release said.
(With inputs from PTI)