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Kalam calls for economic revolution

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI SEPT. 26. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has exhorted "the great Indian family" spread all over the world to start a well-synchronised economic revolution. Addressing industrialists at the Chief Executive Officers' summit held as part of the Mata Amritanandamayi's 50th birthday celebrations at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) here today, Mr. Kalam unveiled a vision for transforming the country into a developed nation by 2020.

He said the core areas which needed integrated action would be agriculture and food processing, education and healthcare, information and communication technology, infrastructure and self-reliance. But, as Mata Amritanandamayi had wished, it would have to be done in tune with the rich cultural heritage of the country.

The President said the basic strategy for social and economic transformation of India would be a strong focus on providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA). All development actions would have to be activated in 5,80,000 villages which had missed both the industrial revolution and the information technology revolution. It would be a challenge to redistribute population in the rural areas for which manufacturing and service sectors have to be taken there.

He said that in prosperous nations such as the United States, Germany and Japan, the greatest contributors to national wealth was the service sector and manufacturing. Though India's growth was much higher than many other countries, it had to catch up with advanced countries in terms of the absolute gross domestic product. The vision for 2020 had set a target for the services sector — contribution of 64 per cent of the GDP whereas in 1980, it was in the region of 36 per cent. The contribution of agriculture was going down. India's consumption of food would double to 400 million tonnes by 2020 while the land availability would reduce further, he said.

Describing the PURA concept, the President noted that villages in clusters of 10 and more should be considered for physical connectivity involving ring roads and rail network. Internet kiosks, e-market, e-governance and so on could become part of the electronic connectivity to the village clusters. Spiritual connectivity as suggested by Mata Amritanandamayi should not be forgotten in implementation of PURA strategies. "Information can flow not only as molecules, atoms and electrons, but also through electromagnetic wave and radiation and that is spirituality.''

Mata Amritanandamayi wished every success to the vision unveiled by the "President son", and exhorted all to be cautious while undertaking programmes of "dharma". Even if you drive carefully, someone's recklessness would mean danger.

Similarly, despite the doctor's good treatment, the medicine might cause allergy to the patient. Admitting that she did not know anything about business, "Amma" said wastage of talent was more dangerous than death. Terming poverty as the greatest enemy, she called for methods to translate religious values into action.

S.P.Hinduja, chairman of the Hinduja Group of companies, who spoke on the occasion, said the vision 2020 was not impossible to achieve.

He also highlighted the need for a better business environment. It would be possible for Indian entrepreneurs to achieve what the Non-Resident Indians had been able to do, but delays and hurdles needed to be removed.

Sabeer Bhatia, CEO of the Navin Communications, said there could be simple solutions to problems. He lauded the high literacy and lowest birth-rate in Kerala and called for transforming the education system.

Rajan Mittal, Joint Managing Director of the Bharti Enterprises, felt that capitalism needed to be embraced. Healthcare, e-governance and literacy were key areas for development.

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