Prez Pratibha Patil inaugurates 150 year celebrations of YMCA

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New Delhi, Sep 28 (UNI) President Pratibha Patil today stressed on the need to make the developmental process more equitable by taking fruits of growth to the section of society where they have not reached.

''India is growing at a rapid pace but we need to make our developmental process equitable. There are large sections of our society, especially in rural areas and even in certain areas in urban centre where the fruits of growth have not reached,''the President said after inaugurating the 150 year celebrations of the Yuoung Men Christian's Association (YMCA) here.

While noting that the Government is undertaking several schemes for poverty eradication, employment generation, rural development, education and health, Ms Patil said development should be seen as a joint task of the Government and society at large.

''Government efforts need to be supported by voluntary agencies and civil society. They can work with the Government, in the social sectors and with the less privileged sections of society as well as in the less developed areas of the country, to take India forward on the path to overall progress,''the President said and quoted in this context the words of Swami Vivekananda ''go from village to village, do good to humanity and to the world at large''.

Lauding efforts by the YMCA in rendering community service and promoting youth development activities, the President said,''community service is essential for the building of better societies. It requires a spirit to work, not only for one's own sake, but also for welfare of others. Individuals and organisations involved in rendering social service should work selflessly for the betterment of society and should motivate the youth to do the same.'' She said the motto of NGOs should not merely be to give crutches to the less privileged but also to make them independent, with capacities and skills that enable them to participate confidently in all activities of life.

The President called for a holistic approach towards development of youth to prepare them for undertaking service towards humanity.

''India is a country of young people, with 54 per cent of its population in the age group below 25 years. Youths are clearly destined to play a major role in the future of India. it is important to inculcate the right values in them and nurture the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of their personality,''she said.

On the YMCA completing 150 years, the President said,''the completion of 150 years, being an important landmark for the YMCA, should encourage the organisation to take up new challenges in the years to come.'' Speaking on the occasion, the president of the National council of the YMCA J Alexander said YMCA was an organisation committed to social service.

Today when liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation are leading to unjust structures and exploitative institutions, it is the task of organisations like the YMCA to fight these unjust structures and work for a equitable society.

Also present on the occasion were president of the New Delhi YMCA Stephen D Costa, YMCA world president Martin Meissner and its National general secretary T Thomas.

Being hosted by YMCA, New Delhi, which has carved out a unique niche in the Capital city through its multifarious programmes, projects and activities covering a broad spectrum, the 150-year celebrations are being attended by YMCA leaders from across the world.

The three-day event, which also marks completion of 80 years of the existence of the New Delhi YMCA on the Indian soil, is also being attended by Deputy-President Samuel D Stephens, former president K M Philip, General Secretary, Asia and Pacific Alliance Yip Kok Choong and representatives of the YMCA movements of North America, Europe and Asia.

Making the special occasion will be a song, dance and music show. The musical, with a cast of 100 comprising mainly students from various institutes of YMCA, will provide a glimpse into the inception of the YMCA movement at London in 1844 and will tell the story of its glorious history in India.

The celebrations would also focus on future strategies to make the YMCA socially relevant, operationally effective and responsive to the challenges faced by the society.


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