By A P J Abdul Kalam
Today, the challenges of the world are poverty, illiteracy, drinking water, clean and green energy, equitable distribution of resources, quality education with values for all, overcoming societal imbalances, curing diseases, quality healthcare for all and good living conditions.
Individual nations are working to find a solution to these challenges. However, there are many international dimensions for the cause and solutions. Hence, working for solutions is a collective responsibility of the global community.
Ideas and innovations are no longer geographically or politically confined. An invention made today somewhere takes no time to find its market thousands of miles away. Seamless flow of information and people also means that local or regional issues will invariably gain global prominence and unaddressed problems including poverty can mutate rapidly into global terrorism. This flow of ideas has also led to increasing importance of global human rights and propagation of the idea of democracy.
Based on detailed discussions in many educational institutions, citizens, organisations and disciplines across the world, I present a distinctive profile for the nations of the world in 2030.
This will be a world of nations where the divide between rural and urban, rich and the poor, developed and developing has narrowed down. Where there is an equitable distribution to energy and quality water. Where core competencies of each nation are identified. Missions synergising the core competencies of nations lead to economic advantage and faster development of societies. Where all students of all societies are imparted education with value system. Where affordable quality healthcare is available to all.
Here, governance will be responsive, transparent and corruption-free. Where crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated. A world in which every nation is able to give a clean, green environment to all citizens, is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy. A world of nations with creative leadership to ensure mechanisms to resolve conflicts between nations and societies keeping peace and prosperity of the world as a goal.
One of the goals is to reduce the rural-urban divide across the world. More than three billion people live in rural regions and empowerment of these three billion is important from the perspective of inclusive development, sustained peace and shared prosperity.
Bridging of the rural-urban divide is closely linked with the mission of overcoming poverty and inequity. About 70% of the world’s extreme poor live in villages.
Driven by the need for education, healthcare and income, the rural population is migrating to urban areas for better opportunities, often meeting with despair. This further contributes to urban poverty as well leading to stresses and societal turbulence. The rural areas of the world have unharnessed resources, potential, youth and traditional skills. They have to be encouraged to add value. We would need to evolve sustainable development systems and deliver in an entrepreneurial manner. The need of the hour is the evolution of sustainable systems that act as enablers and bring inclusive growth and integrated development to nations of the world.
One such sustainable development system is the mission of provision ofurban amenities in rural areas (Pura) by creating three connectivities: physical, electronic and knowledge, leading to economic connectivity. The villages must be connected to themselves and to towns by good roads and, wherever needed, by railway lines. They must have other infrastructure like schools, colleges and hospitals. This is physical connectivity.
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 good teachers, must have good medical treatment, and new information on pursuits such as agriculture, fishery, horticulture and food processing. That means they have to have electronic connectivity.
Once physical and electronic connectivity are enabled, the knowledge connectivity is enabled. That can facilitate productivity, knowledge, healthcare transparency and access to markets.
Once the three connectivities are ensured, they facilitate earning capacity, leading to economic connectivity. When we provide urban amenities to rural areas, we can uplift rural areas, we can attract investors, we can introduce effectively useful systems like rural BPOs and microfinance.
The number of Pura for the wholeof India is estimated to be 7,000 covering 6,00,000 villages where 750 million people live. Similarly, about30,000 Pura complexes would berequired to convert the three billion rural population of the world into a vibrant economic zone and bringing sustainable development to rural areas.
There are operational Puras in India initiated by many educational and healthcare institutions, as well as industry and other institutions. The government is already moving ahead with the implementation of Pura on the national scale across several districts of India. The essence of Pura Activated is the belief that Pura enterprises of the next generation need to think of its relationship workforce as beyond being the provider of mere livelihood.
The Pura Activated has two kinds of entrepreneurs. Resource entrepreneurs will focus on the economic realisation of the natural, traditional and human resources with the help of customised technology and modern management to enhance income of every household. They will play the critical role of moving resources up the value chain, with best practices and matching product to market. Their performance will be reflected in the overall growth of the GDP of the rural complex.
Social entrepreneurs will work closely with resource entrepreneurs. They would focus on improving the human development index, in terms of education, healthcare and improvement of standards of living by provision of amenities and equity across various diversities. These entrepreneurs will promote purchasing power into better lives and higher skills.
The entrepreneurs of Pura Activated would work in close synchronisation with local Pura champions who may be institutions or organisations of repute. They will be partners with the government, local administration and panchayati raj institutions.
Enterprises from different parts ofthe world can be partners with Pura Activated by acting as equity investors, exploring and facilitating market linkages and providing a technological platform, best practices and innovative solutions to production challenges.
Such collaborative platforms for 6,00,000 villages covering 750 million citizens in India alone will have an over-$200-billion market in the country, which can harness an agrarian economy leading to mutual benefits. This can be expanded to all countries.
I have been part of three projects: the space program of Isro, the Agni programme of DRDO and Pura becoming a national mission. All succeeded despite many challenges and problems. I have learnt that a leader must have a vision, a passion to accomplish the mission, travel an unexplored path and manage success and failure.
A leader should also have courage to take decisions, have nobility in management, be transparent and should work with integrity. The global vision 2030 envisages clean environment without pollution, prosperity without poverty, peace without fear of war and a happy place to live for all citizens of the world. What is needed is the participation of multiple nations, multiple institutions and people from across the globe towards common objectives.
(Excerpts from the former President of India’s recent Harish C Mahindra lecture at Harvard University)
(Sourced from Economic Times)