Kalam Ropes In Amma For His Pet Rural Development Scheme

Kochi, Sept 26: | Updated: Sep 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
President APJ Abdul Kalam had yet another occasion to wield his pet management precept of invisible leadership before a rare conclave of 135 heads of business in the country. Use technology to link economic integration with spiritual integration, he told the CEO summit in association with Mata Amritananandamayis 50th birthday celebrations here.

In a prompt tribute to Dr Kalams lateral thinking, Amritanandamayi Mutt offered to integrate his string of 5,000 PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) villages of Rs 100-crore ($20 million) each with a concept of Amrita-Pura project. The first Amritapuri project will come up in five villages near Bangalore. Mata Amritanandamayi handed over the model of Amrita-PURA project to Karnataka governor TN Chaturvedi.

PURA, according to Dr Kalam, is one of the mechanisms which will be utilised for transforming our villages into a productive economic zone. Each PURA might call for an average investment of Rs 100 crore (or about $20 million). 5,000 PURAs have already been announced by the Union government. The first PURA complex fully funded by the Centre would commence in Orissa in November 2003, he said.

Technology was the key in making India an economic power in 20 years, Dr Kalam said. A strategic action plan for upgrading agriculture and food processing, reliable and quality electric power for all parts of the country, education and healthcare, information technology and self-reliance in critical technologies was a must.

Other areas like advanced sensors and materials would also need a thrust. These five areas are closely inter-related and lead to food, economic, national security and employment generation.

Change management in leadership style was the key in wealth-generation and societal transformation, Dr Kalam said. And this had to bring together innovative management structures and technology practices.

Continuing formulation of new missions such as PURA, networking of rivers, large scale use of solar energies for seawater desalination, education as a fundamental right and so on was also critical. But more important, was giving spiritual integration to economic integration, Dr Kalam added.