While expressing his views over the debatable issue of agriculture vs industry in the country’s vast hinterlands,former President A P J Abdul Kalam has said employment opportunities will increase if rural India thinks beyond agriculture.
In some cases,we may have opportunities with local craftsmanship,local rural tourism,knowledge products and service sector. Such a focus across a diversity of opportunities will also help generate better employment and tackle the issue of disguised unemployment, he said.
He said the focus should be on leveraging the power of core competency of each and every region.
Of course,since we are talking of rural context,in many occasions this would be related to agriculture,but not always, Kalam said lamenting that in urbanisation there is little focus on developing native technology or evolving core competency of the region.
Through his new book ‘Target 3 billion’ co-authored with Srijan Pal Singh and published by Penguin,Kalam promotes a strategy called PURA (Providing Urban Facilities to Rural Areas).
The stratergy talks about focusing and developing the local core competencies which originate from the indigenous culture and conditions and how technology can enhance them into a viable enterprise solution.
To encompass local culture and value-based learning,even education needs to be customised,the Bharat Ratna awardee pointed out.
Explaining that the strategy is not meant to urbanise rural areas,Kalam said PURA is about nurturing the competencies of the rural areas and generating entrepreneurial opportunities for the locals.
PURA can thus be extended to an urbanisation programme with a sustainability factor, he said,adding that the model focuses not only on conserving the environment but also on enhancing the local culture.
We have evolved a new cadre of entrepreneurs called the ‘Ecopreneurs’ who would be green-collared enterprises, he said when asked as to how rural areas should fight the curse of pollution that comes along with urban amenities.
Describing rural development as technology’s biggest opportunity,the eminent scientist,remarked that technology can empower the 3 billion underprivileged people living in rural areas all over the world.
When asked what keeps him motivated to continue working for developmental causes even at the age of 80,he cited his dream to see billion smiles on billion faces.