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Former President calls for Integrated Development Action
Espousing the cause of sustainable development and rural upliftment, at the Annual National Commission for Minorities (NCM) lecture, Dr. A.P.J Kalam identified five potential areas of 'combined action and inclusive growth'.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, has said that the need of the hour is the evolution of sustainable systems which act as ‘enablers’ and bring inclusive growth and integrated development to the nation. Delivering this year’s Annual NCMlecture on the topic ‘Sustained development mechanism will bring prosperity to all’ here today at the Constitution Club, Dr. Kalam said that one such sustainable development system is the mission of Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas ( PURA).

It means that:

The villages must be connected within themselves and with main towns and metros through  good roads and wherever needed by railway lines. They must have other infrastructure like schools, colleges, hospitals and amenities for the local population and the visitors. This is physical connectivity.

In the emerging knowledge era, the native knowledge has to be preserved and enhanced with latest tools of technology, training and research. The villages have to have access to good education from best teachers wherever they are, must have the benefit of good medical treatment, and must have latest information on their pursuits like agriculture, fishery, horticulture and food processing. That means they have to have electronic connectivity.

Once the physical and electronic connectivity are enabled, the knowledge connectivity is enabled. That can facilitate the ability increase the productivity, the utilization of spare time, awareness of health welfare, ensuring a market for products, increasing quality conscience, interacting with partners, getting the best equipment, increasing transparency and so in general knowledge connectivity.

Once the three connectivities viz. physical, electronic and knowledge connectivity are ensured, they facilitate earning capacity leading to economic connectivity. When we Provide Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), we can lead to upliftment of rural areas, we can attract investors, we can introduce effectively useful systems like rural BPOs, micro finance. 

The number of PURA for the whole country is estimated to be 7000 covering 600,000 villages where 700 million people live, the former President said.

In his typical philosophical way Dr. Kalam gave his visualization of India during the year 2020 as follows:

  1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has reduced to a thin line.
  2. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
  3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony.
  4. A Nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.
  5. A Nation, which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists, and investors.
  6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all.
  7. A Nation where the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption free.
  8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated.
  9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
  10. A Nation that is one of the best places to live in and is proud of its leadership.

The former President of India said that to achieve the distinctive profile of India, we have the mission of transforming India into a developed nation. He said that 5 areas have been identified where India has a core competence for integrated action: (1) Agriculture and food processing; (2) Education and Healthcare; (3) Information and Communication Technology; (4) Reliable and Quality Electric power, Surface transport and Infrastructure for all parts of the country; and (5) Self reliance in critical technologies. These five areas are closely inter-related and if progressed in a coordinated way leading to food, economic and national security, Dr. Kalam said.

Dr. Kalam called upon every Indian to have an introspection about the social awakening needed for the national development. Every civilized society exists not for day-to-day, but lives with a clear perception for the future and the generations to come. The former President said that such a situation would pre-suppose that each individual in such a society would cherish and translate into practice noble ideals of constructive tolerance, positive fellow-feeling and a total commitment to live and let live. Albert Einstein could not have expressed this better, when he said: “Laws alone can’t secure freedom of expression; in order that every man presents his views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population”.

Dr. Kalam said that we have to evolve a society that will respect differences and celebrate differences. He also suggested a number of missions for the National Commission for Minorities to make it more effective.

The Annual NCM lecture is organized by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to mark the importance of the constitution of the first statutory Commission on 5th July 1993. The NCM was set up to safeguard the rights of minorities and to protect their interests. It became a statutory body under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

Source: PIB