New Delhi [India], Jan.25 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said that the nation’s future lies in the hands of its younger generation, and therefore, there is an even more urgent need to expand frontiers of education and knowledge. Also Read - Motera— World's Biggest Cricket Ground—Renamed as Narendra Modi Stadium

Delivering his first address as President of the Republic on the eve of the 69th Republic Day, Kovind said, “A confident and forward-looking nation is built by confident and forward-looking young people. Over 60 per cent of our fellow citizens are below the age of 35. It is in them that our hopes lie.. Now, we must expand the frontiers of education and of knowledge. Our aspiration must be to reform, upgrade and enlarge our education system, and make it relevant to 21st century realities of the digital economy, genomics, robotics and automation.” Also Read - Republic Day Violence: Delhi Court Sends Actor-Activist Deep Sidhu To 14-Day Judicial Custody

He said the government has set aside sizeable resources for programmes and initiatives to equip the nation’s youth with education and skills to compete in a globalised world. Also Read - 'Reflects Your Love For Nation': PM Modi Sends Letter of Praise to Dubai Boy Who Made His Portrait

“It is for our talented young people to make the most of these opportunities. An innovative nation is built by innovative children. This must be our obsessive goal. Our schooling system has to encourage our children to think and to tinker, not just to memorise and reproduce,” he said.

Commenting on the challenge of malnutrition and hunger, President Kovind said it is imperative to bring the right micronutrients to the plate of every child.

“This is important for both physical and cognitive development of our children, and for the future of our country. We simply have to invest in our human capital,” he said.

It was equally important, he said, not to mock a fellow citizen’s dignity and personal space.

Indirectly referring to the controversy surrounding the movie “Padmaavat”, he said, “A civic-minded nation is built by civic-minded neighbourhoods, whether in our cities or our villages, where we respect the next-door person’s space, privacy and rights, where we do not inconvenience our neighbours while celebrating a festival or while resorting to a protest or on any other occasion, where one can disagree with another viewpoint, or even with a historical context. This is fraternity in action.”

“A nation with a sense of selflessness is built by citizens and by a society that embraces selflessness, where voluntary groups clean public places such as beaches and rivers, and care for orphaned children and homeless people, and even for homeless animals, where we donate blood or a body organ to help a fellow citizen who may be a stranger to us, where idealistic individuals travel to remote places to teach children and change their lives with the magic of education. They do so not because anybody has asked them to, but because of a call from within,” President Kovind said.

“Let us all collate our privileges and entitlements, and then look at less-privileged members of a similar background, those who are starting off from where we once started off, and let each of us introspect and ask: Is his need or her need greater than mine? The spirit of philanthropy and of giving is part of our age-old culture. Let us renew it,” he said. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.