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Poor progress could spark youth rage, warns Pranab


After doubting the trickle-down theories, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday cautioned that the youth might become restive if economic progress fell short of their aspirations.


In his pre-Independence Day speech, he said, "We are a nation that is becoming younger both in age and spirit; this is an opportunity as well as a challenge."


Also, in oblique but stern criticism of civil society's onslaught against lawmakers and Parliament, Mukherjee said people's anger could not become an excuse for assault on democratic institutions.


Mukherjee's observation came even as he acknowledged the legitimacy in people's ire at corruption.


"Anger against the bitter pandemic of corruption is legitimate, as is the protest against this plague that is eroding the capability and potential of our nation," he said.


Mukherjee's speech that came in the backdrop of yet another agitation by Team Anna, followed by yoga guru Ramdev's fast, warned, "When protest becomes endemic, we are flirting with chaos... We must also understand that legislation cannot be wrenched away from the legislature or justice from the judiciary."


In yet another indirect message to civil society activists, the President pointed out that elections acted as the redress mechanism in democracies.


It assumed significance as members of Team Anna have announced their intention to form a political party and Ramdev, too, publicly enjoyed the backing of BJP and other NDA leaders.


"Democracy is blessed with a unique opportunity for redress of grievances through the great institution of accountability - free elections," the President said.


While asking for a restoration of credibility in the judiciary, executive and legislature, Mukherjee made it clear: "Parliament will live by its own calendar and rhythm. (It) is the soul of the people. We challenge its rights and duties at our peril."


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