Young people, who constitute the next generation, should have a say in tackling challenges faced by developing nations, Prez Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday as he was conferred an honorary degree of doctorate by the University of Mauritius in Port Louis.
Mukherjee, on a three-day visit to Mauritius, was honoured with a Doctor of Civil Law degree at a ceremony at the university.
“As the next generation, young people should have a say in determining our responses to the variety of challenges that our developing nations face today,” Mukherjee said as he welcomed the increasing number of Mauritian-origin student coming to India for higher studies.
“Nearly 100 scholarships are offered annually to Mauritian students to pursue under-graduate, post-graduate and research studies in various streams in India. This is in addition to 290 slots for short term courses under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme”.
“In recent years, we have seen an upswing in the number of Mauritian students availing of these scholarships. Many Mauritian students also enrol themselves in Indian universities on a self-financing basis. We welcome them in India,” he said.
Mukherjee said the investment in education by the founding fathers of the country “continues to reap rich dividends for Mauritius and has been one of the reasons for the praiseworthy level of development that we see in Mauritius today.”
The President thanked the University for honouring him as he lauded its academic excellence.
“This University has a rich tradition of providing quality education that responds responding to the contemporary needs of Mauritian society,” he said.
He also spoke words of praise for the Mauritians.
“Every Mauritian, regardless of his ethnic or religious background should be proud of the remarkable achievements of this country”.
“Not only has Mauritius triumphed in the realisation of its democratic and secular ideals but it has also registered a commendable rate of economic growth and established for its citizens the strong institutions that make Mauritius a well integrated and progressive people”.
“Today, Mauritius figures high in economic and social development indicators in Africa and has become a role model to many countries because of its economic success story,” he said.
Mukherjee expressed his happiness over the signing of a number of bi-lateral treaties during his visit which began on March 11.
“I am happy to note that several agreements have been signed during my visit in key sectors of our respective economies including tourism, health and medicine, co-operation in the addressing the issues related to senior citizens and disabilities”.
“These agreements reflect the diversity of our engagement and will definitely benefit the people of both countries,” Mukherjee said.
The President while delivering his speech to the audience which comprised students said India has dedicated its resources for educational training of its youth to carry forward the “development agenda of the country.”
“India has the third largest higher education system in the world with hundreds of universities, thousands of tertiary education institutions and millions of students studying in colleges and universities.
“We have a highly developed curriculum, globally reputed for its high quality- particularly in engineering, medicine, management, material science and technology, nanoscience, remote sensing, environmental studies, renewable energy and space science to name a few,” he said.
“With over 600 million Indians below the age of 25, we have prioritised the education and training of our youth over the next two decades to carry forward our development agenda. Needless to say, India is committing huge resources to towards this end,” he said.
Later, during a civic reception being hosted in his honour at Grand Bois market place, Mukherjee said that India “has been and will always remain a close friend” to Mauritius and the bi-lateral ties have withstood the vagaries of time.
“Our friendship has endured the vagaries of time and global and regional developments. Ours is a relationship in which our future generations have a vital stake. We have a sacred duty to ensure that this partnership is able to realise its full potential for the mutual benefit of both our peoples,” he said.
New tax avoidance treaty with India: Mauritius
Mauritius on Wednesday expressed the hope that the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), which is at the centre of a long-standing controversy over routing of foreign investment into India, will be “behind us” when a new treaty is signed between the two countries.
“We have the cleanest system. There is no misuse of the treaty. The DTAA will be behind us when we will sign a new treaty (after the JWG meet in New Delhi in coming April),” Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam told reporters accompanying President Mukherjee on a three-day state visit to the island nation
“The Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) was signed in 1983 at the request of India not by us…but now..you know..but since we have a special relationship with India we have to see that also while signing the new treaty,” he said.
During his meeting with Mukherjee yesterday, Ramgoolam had said that he had discussed the issue of DTAA with the Indian President during delegation level talks and both the countries hope to reach a solution soon.
“We spoke about the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. We have already found some common ground to find a solution. This is going to come to an end in April,” he had said in the presence of President Mukherjee after attending a ceremony where several pacts on health, medicine, tourism were signed.
Mukherjee had said that India looked forward to the meeting of the Joint Working Group to be held in April in New Delhi.
“I am pleased to note that the Joint Working Group on the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) has met twice in the last one year. They have provided an opportunity for both sides to discuss all issues with the aim of finding a mutually acceptable and beneficial outcome,” Mukherjee had said.