Udhagamandalam: Several achievements notwithstanding India still has many challenges to contend with, said the president, Southern India Engineering Manufacturers Association (SIEMA), C.R. Shanmugasundaram.
He was participating as the chief guest at the graduation day ceremony of the CSI College of Engineering at Ketti near here on Friday. Most of the 700 million people of the country who are living in the villages are engaged in agriculture and they are adopting obsolete practices.
It resulted in lower productivity and marginal returns on investment. More than 360 million people are illiterates and they live below the poverty line.
On the brighter side India is today seen with respect as a vibrant and emerging economy, rated as the second fastest growing economy in the world with a consistent average annual GDP growth rate of more than eight per cent over the past few years.
Lamenting that globalisation which has opened up a wide array of opportunities has also increased the disparities and widened the divide between the rich and the poor, he said that while the manufacturing and service sectors employing about 240 million people accounts for 64 per cent of the GDP, over 650 million people engaged in agriculture and related areas account for only 24 per cent of the GDP.
As a result the growth of the rural economy is retarded. The goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020 can be achieved only if concerted efforts are made to lift the rural economy and equitable growth is brought about. In this the role of the younger generation is vital, Mr. Shanmugasundaram averred.
Urging the students to display compassion towards their counterparts who hailed from the underprivileged sections of society, he said that they should cultivate a desire to serve society.