New Delhi: The idea of secularism needs to be further strengthened in the minds of young people to build a harmonious society, President Pranab Mukherjee said here on Tuesday.
Addressing institutes of higher learning and civil service academies, the President stressed on the need for providing "value-based education" to the youth.
"We must inculcate in them the spirit of democratic behaviour which calls for an appreciation of the rich diversity of our nation, assimilation of ideas, and accommodation for divergent or contrarian views.
"The idea of secularism is deeply ingrained in the consciousness of our nation. It has to be further strengthened in the minds of the young ones to build a harmonious society," he said.
The President also spoke about gender equality and said it was important for having an "inclusive society".
"The occurrence of some unfortunate incidents of atrocity and violence against women in recent years should strengthen our resolve to wipe out any trace of depravity and evil from the minds of individuals.
"Respect for women is sacrosanct in our society with its roots embedded in our civilisational values, which are reflected in our Constitution. A spirit of reverence towards women must be instilled in our children in our homes and educational institutions. It must guide social conduct of an individual from an early age," Mukherjee said while addressing them through video conferencing.
He said that "word inclusion" has no meaning until there is a socio-economic equity.
Highlighting UPA-government's Right to Information (RTI), employment, education and food programmes backed by legal guarantees, the President said the recent programmes launched by the NDA government are for creating financial inclusion, creating model villages and formation of a digitally-empowered society.