BASED ON HIS INDIAN EXPERIENCE, DR KALAM RECOMMENDS A SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM TO UPLIFT THE RURAL MASSES NOT BY SUBSIDIES BUT THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP WITH COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION.
PROF V RAJARAMAN
A P J Abdul Kalam is a man of vision. His tenure as President of India was marked by simplicity and transparency.
At public gatherings he always identified the youth in the audience and interacted with them. It was a pleasure watching him interacting with the youth, be they in higher education or in schools. His earlier works include alt145 Wings of Firealt39, alt145 India 2020: A Vision for the New Millenniumalt39and alt145 Ignited Mindsalt39- these show Kalam as a person who had immense zeal and enthusiasm- both these qualities emanating from him are infectious and inspire the youth to great heights.
The book under review is written in the same mould and in collaboration with Srijan Pal Singh currently working with Kalam to promote PURA. The full form of PURA is ‘Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areasalt39- a system for sustainable growth. Just as Nehru could be described as the darling of the crowds Kalam could be described as the darling of the youth. Nehru laid the foundations of industrial India but agrarian India had been neglected. Nehru admitted this. alt145 It is painfulalt39, he said.
alt145 that after ten years of independence an agricultural country cannot feed itself. It would be wrong to blame the stars or floods or drought. We must recognise that there must be something lacking in our approach which has led to a relative lack of success.alt39Kalam during his career spanning 6 decades has other travelled a lot. His visits include Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and several states in India and abroad. His alt145 Target 3 Billionalt39encapsulates his vision to remove poverty from the world. He cites the example of Baba Sri Bhadariya Maharaj who transformed the villages in and around the Thar desert. The lives of the villagers would have been dominated by many types of intoxicants. Bhadariya is a small place in the middle of the Thar desert but it has a great lesson for the world. It is an example of integrated development and valid not just for a nation but for the entire international context. Kalam points out in a short but inspiringly written introduction the example of this village situated in a practically God forsaken land.
There are numerous examples he cites, of what he calls the four rapid forms of connectivity- environment, people, economy and ideas Ironically the world is not devoid of efforts but there is lack of co- ordination for inclusive development. It is not that the governments have not rushed in aid to the suffering poor but lack of concerted efforts seem to be the bane of the entire issue. India can boast of a rise in the number of millionaires on the one hand but on the other hand suffers from appalling malnutrition. Except for the Green Revolution, nothing substantial has been done to improve the conditions of rural India.
The country is now ripe for the second Green Revolution but it is painful to know that tons of food grain have been left to rot on account of lack of storage facility and this when thousands are dying of hunger every day.
Technology and capital must be harnessed to effect the second Green Revolution.
Politics is too much with us.
The tendency to gravitate towards money must be stalled and people should learn to look for change of heart. How can we be so callous to the spate of farmers suicide in our country? Suchan attitude spells disaster. It is in such circumstances that systems like PURA acquire a special significance.
The urban- rural divide can be bridged only by tools like PURA. India requires about 3000 Puras while the entire world would require about 30000 complexes. A mission of such magnitude is not easy to accomplish.
One of the key challenges is investment.
Kalam says that he has met several people of India