Benefits of welfare plans not reaching poor people: President

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New Delhi, Dec 17 (UNI) Barely a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh showed his displeasure over subsidies not reaching the poor, President Pratibha Patil today echoed similar sentiments, saying the benefits of welfare measures had been eluding the intended beneficiaries.

Mrs Patil also voiced her concern over attempts to create animosity among different sections of society in the name of religion, and made an emotive appeal to religious and social leaders to launch a movement that would herald social transformation in the country.

Addressing a function of the National Integration Council at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, all Indians were born on the same soil, and there was no justification for people getting divided in the name of religion.

The President said it was tragic that the benefits of welfare measures, involving huge money, were not reaching the common man.

''There is an imperative need to launch a new revolution that would usher in social transformation and remove these shortcomings,'' she added.

The President said Mahatma Gandhi emancipated the country from the colonial rule by espousing the ideals of truth and non-violence.

''The country once again needs a movement that will remove distinctions among people and give a momentum to welfare measures,'' she added.

The programme at Rashtrapati Bhavan also witnessed 'padabhishek' of Yuvacharya Muni Lokesh in the presence of a galaxy of religious leaders and social activists.

Muni Lokesh set the ball rolling by making an impassioned plea to the high-profile religious leaders to combine their efforts for creating a non-violent and stress-free society and a peaceful nation.

Those who attended the function included Swami Agnivesh, Maulana Umar Ilyasi, Sardar Paramjit Singh Chandok of the Shiromani Gurdwara Samiti, Father Varghese and Acharysshri Manmal.

Maulana Umar Ilyasi said Islam is a religion that propagates peace and safety for all sections of people, and there is no place for terrorism in it.

Swami Agnivesh, Father Varghese and Sardar Parmjit Singh also shared their views and called for launching a movement that would strengthen national integration.

UNI

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