Mukherjee, who was addressing a joint session of the Parliament for the first time, stressed continuing social and economic inequality. He said: "I am aware that an aspirational India is emerging, an India that demands more opportunities, greater choices, better infrastructure, and enhanced safety and security. Our youth, our greatest national asset, are a confident and courageous lot. I have no doubt that their passion, energy and enterprise will take India to new heights."
He added: "Amidst these aspirations, we are also burdened by gathering anxieties about economic slowdown, job security and employment prospects. People are concerned about the security of our women and children. They are also anxious about timely delivery of their entitlements and about persisting social and economic inequality".
Meanwhile, DMK and AIADMK MPs protested during the President's address over the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. They raised slogans as soon as President Mukherjee began his speech in the Central Hall. The MPs were apparently referring to the brutal killing of the 12-year-old son of slain LTTE chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran, allegedly by Sri Lankan soldiers.
BSP's Shafiqur Rehman Barg also raised a demand of granting minority status to Aligarh Muslim University.
Union ministers Rajiv Shukla and V Narayanasamy asked the protesting MPs to calm down. The President, however, continued with his speech amid the commotion.
(With agency inputs)