New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday hailed the Narendra Modi government’s initiatives like Digital India, Swachh Bharat and Skill India as “transformative in nature”.
“President of India President Mukherjee believes these programmes are transformative in nature and their successful implementation will alter the landscape of the country,” said a reply on Facebook live chat from the President’s page, where a question and answer session was organised on the eve of his four years in office.
The replies were made by Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the President.
Mukherjee urged Indians to dedicate themselves to the service of the nation.
“Citizens of India should dedicate themselves to the cause of the nation and society through constructive contribution to these programmes in every possible manner,” he said in reply to one question.
The President also stressed the importance of teachers, saying: “Teachers are like the soft and skillful hands of a potter. They mould the destiny of thousands of students, in turn shaping the future of a nation.”
In another reply, it was said that he “loves teaching and remembers his days as a teacher fondly”.
Mukherjee was a teacher in Suri Vidyasagar Collage of West Bengal before joining politics.
However, the live chat evoked a lukewarm response from some net-savvy citizens who said very casual and “easy” kinds of questions were asked.
At one point, Bengaluru-based Lokesh Sharma complained: “You are answering only easy and useless questions.”
Many questions related to Rashtrapati Bhavan and how can visitors go to President’s estate.
One question was: “What is being done to document the unique features of Rashtrapati Bhavan”, to which the reply was: “Since President Mukherjee assumed office in 2012, comprehensive documentation of all aspects of Rashtrapati Bhavan is underway.”
Five books titled “A Work of Beauty: The Architecture and Landscape of Rashtrapati Bhavan”, “First Garden of the Republic: Nature in the President’s Estate”, “Around India’s First Table: Dining and Entertaining at Rashtrapati Bhavan, “The Arts and Interiors of Rashtrapati Bhavan: Lutyens and Beyond”, and “Discover the Magnificent World of Rashtrapati Bhavan” and three portfolios of paintings in Rashtrapati Bhavan will be released on Monday, it said.
One questioner who asked: “Can I bring along my classmates to see the Rashtrapati Bhavan and its museums and will we be able to interact with the president on such occasions?” was told: “Your classmates and you are most welcome to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President is normally very busy and able to interact personally only with limited number of people.”
To another question on cultural programmes held in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the answer said Mukherjee “appreciates and encourages all forms of art and culture. This is a programme called Indradhanush under which eminent dancers, musicians, etc perform for the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan Auditorium every month. Screening of films are also held from time to time”.
Some one who wanted to know the President’s interests and what does he enjoy doing when he is not performing his duties as head of state was told that: “President Mukherjee loves reading and is passionate about books. He reads whenever he has free time. He also enjoys morning walks in the Mughal Gardens.”
To a question on what has been his views on natural calamity in Uttarakhand, President said he had to K.K. Paul, the Governor of Uttarakhand conveying his condolences on the loss of lives due to cloudburst and heavy rains.
At the end of the hour-long live chat, Rajamony, in a voice message, said he could answer 51 questions on wide range of issues.
“We would like to do such interactions in the future also,” he said.