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While assuming the office of the President of India, during the swearing-in-ceremony, I made two assurances to the nation. One is to work with the nation for transforming India into a developed nation; the other is to endeavor to work for bringing about unity of minds among the divergent traditions of our country.In India, there are 260 million people below the poverty line and 300 million young citizens who are below 20 years of age. This is the hard core of India that is in need of social and economic development in an ambience of peace and harmony. India has a road map, our national dream, India Vision 2020. This encompasses five important areas relevant and vitally important to bring in sustainable prosperity to this vulnerable section of our population: agriculture and food processing, education and healthcare, information and communications technology, infrastructure development including networking of rivers, and Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA). These areas need to be taken into consideration simultaneously. When the villages prosper, the states prosper. When the states prosper, all India prospers.The Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech on the 15th August 2002 has already announced that India will become a developed nation by the year 2020. The Government has also initiated a number of schemes such as Interlinking of Rivers, PURA towards this vision. He also announced the creation of 5,000 PURAs in five years in different parts of the country. All the state governments and non-government organizations have started working in this direction.
For the successful implementation of the missions of Vision 2020, there should be an integrated action through a moral, ethical and spiritual foundation. It is here that national development and spiritual connectivity acquire paramount importance. The question arises as to how this partnership might be developed. We have to establish the powerful interconnectivities and trade-offs that are possible between economic prosperity and religious enrichment, since our mission is to build a prosperous world with a value system derived from our civilization's heritage. This is possible only through unity of minds. How do we bring about a unity of minds?In my search for unity of minds, I have visited many religious places and houses of worship, temples, mosques, churches, Buddhist monasteries and Christian monasteries throughout the length and breadth of this great country and abroad.