New Delhi: Stressing on the need for having an egalitarian society, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday called on citizens to ensure that untouchability is not practised anywhere in the country.
Delivering the fifth Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Lecture here on the 'Vision of India in 21st Century as Envisaged by Dr Ambedkar', the President said it was the responsibility of the citizens to realise the dreams of the principal architect of the Indian Constitution.
"We must ensure that untouchability or any form of discrimination based on caste, creed, religion or sex is not practised in any part of the country," he said.
At the same time, he also reminded of the distance that the country still needs to travel to become an egalitarian society without any discrimination between man and man.
Pointing at the challenges before the country, he said that a large number of Indians still live in poverty and deprivation.
Casteism, too, sadly remains a phenomenon the country is yet to fully wipe out, Mukherjee added.
The President's remarks come in the wake of reports last week in Tamil Nadu of discrimination against Dalits and other caste Hindus who were allegedly served with separate cups in some villages. Six tea-shop owners were arrested for engaging in the practice.
Highlighting the contributions of Ambedkar, the President said his commitment towards the creation of strong institutions and constitutional methods had taken many interesting modern manifestations.
"For example, the Right to Information Act is a unique and powerful instrument created by law to empower people and enable them access information from any department of the government on any subject, advancing thereby openness and transparency," Mukherjee said.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot, said that an international institution named after Ambedkar would be soon set up in Delhi.