Kolkata : Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Thursday said the development of the nation should include upliftment of the underprivileged section to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and break the urban-rural divide.
About 260 million people in India are still living below the poverty line and grapple with the scourge of malnutrition, illiteracy and disease, Shekhawat said while attending a function here organised by the Merchants' Chamber of Commerce (MCC).
"We need development that eradicates literacy, a development that provides the common man with access to basic education, healthcare and shelter so that the poorest of the poor can enjoy their fundamental rights to live with dignity," he added.
He also expressed anguish at the widening of the urban-rural gap and interregional disparities.
"We need a better environment of governance that provides efficient, hassle-free and corruption-free delivery of services and goods. We need to empower our people to take advantage of the opportunities that are rapidly arising across the world," Shekhawat said.
The vice-president also attended the annual programme of the Kolkata chapter of the Rajasthan Foundation in the evening and conferred the Pravasi Pratibha Puraskar award to social worker and businesswoman Sarala Birla for her contribution to the social, cultural and academic fields.