Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said happiness will not come simply by prosperity and stressed the need for people-centric and nature-centric development.
Stating that focus should be not just on prosperity and but also on the well-being of people, he claimed that the entire world was looking to India not just for economic development but also for spiritual guidance.
He was addressing an international conference on development discourse being co-hosted by the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Research for Resurgence Foundation (RFRF) and other organisations here.
“It is high time to think, what development actually means to the humanity at large. The bottom line seems to be improvement in the quality of life, how healthy and happy and how fulfilling and emotionally satisfying are our lives,” he said.
“Prosperity is important. However, there are probably many things that matter in our lives in addition to money. Environment and peace, both external and internal, are critical determinants of the quality of life,” said the Vice-President.
He believes that a culture of sharing and caring, of dialogue and understanding, of empathy and compassion can shape a new world. “Preserving culture and nature can pave the way for a brighter future,” he remarked.
He noted that while development broadly encompasses improving incomes and living conditions, the focus should be on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals the world has set for itself in 2015.
“For a developing nation like India, the need of the hour is to sustain the momentum of economic growth and dovetail its efforts for increasing prosperity and well-being of the people,” he said.
Pointing out that India was growing at 7.3 to 7.5 per cent, Naidu said making agriculture viable, improving farm income, bridging the urban rural divide, eradicating poverty, tackling climate change, harnessing technology, empowering women and creating jobs were all crucial to sustain this growth momentum.
He said the ultimate goal of development had evolved from “struggle for existence to welfare and happiness of majority” and finally achieving “let all be happy”.
Naidu underlined the need for living in harmony with nature. He said while doing one’s duty gives happiness, going beyond one’s duty to serve society, nature, animals and other creatures gives greater happiness.
He said as MP, minister and now constitutional authority, he still engaged in social work through Swarna Bharath Trust.
He called for educating the young generation to live in harmony with nature. He pointed out how the world had taken to India’s ancient practices like yoga but some people in India were yet to accept it.
“Yoga has nothing do with religion. It is an exercise of unity of mind and body. Yoga is for your body not for (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi. Modi has only promoted it,” he said.
Naidu said some people wrongly interpret the word ‘Bharatiya’ and believe it is something do with a party. “Because of the colonial rule and mindset, we suspect everything ancient.”
Stating that terrorism is enemy of humanity while black money weakens the currency, Naidu said the global community should come together to eradicate the twin menaces of terror and black money.
“The country can achieve rapid progress and bring about a transformation in the lives of both urban and rural people only when we collectively strive to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, caste and gender discrimination as also the twin menaces of black money and terrorism,” he added.