It was on July 27, 2015 a great visionary named Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, Bharat Ratna, People’s President and accomplished missile scientist entered glory. One year is over since his separation from India. What he left behind is his legacy his Vision 2020 for which he wanted co-operation from everyone and sweat to realize it.
Technology Vision 2020 provides the guidelines for development of the country using technology to aim 10 per cent GDP growth. It was in 1998 that Kalam’s acclaimed book — India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium was published.
To realize his vision, he identified research as a vehicle to carry forward his vision. He wanted to create a science cadre and urged the scientists to mount intensive time bound research programs in areas like agriculture, floriculture, horticulture and solar energy to speedup sustainable rural development through science and technology.
Dr. Kalam had identified 600 million youth as the biggest resource of the country that will propel growth. “Millions of small-scale industries across the country, IT export and cost-effective pharmaceutical industry will also help the country achieve its goals,” he said.
Delivering his first Independence speech as the President in 2002, Kalam said, “The second vision of our nation is to transform it from the present developing status to a developed nation by integrated actions simultaneously in the areas of agriculture and food processing, education and healthcare, infrastructure development including power, information and communication technologies, and critical technologies. This greater vision will aim to alleviate poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.”
Dr. Kalam found many economies in the world are driven by export of defence systems. If they don’t sell defence systems or products that country’s economy will collapse. So aggressive marketing is going on wherever defence systems are manufactured.” India must learn to be competitive too. Competitiveness involves cost, quality and marketing.”
Science leads to technology, technology leads to products and marketing. He wanted the Indian scientific community to be digitally available for interactions. Taking a dim view of consumerism, he urged the government to increase the spending on infrastructure. Imports of agricultural produce, minerals, coal and petroleum products have to be considerably reduced, and inclusive economic policies should empower Indians to attain competitiveness in the agriculture, industry and services sectors.
PM Modi has a Way of Realizing Impossible Dreams
We have seen the roadmap laid by Dr. Kalam. Time is ticking away with three plus years to reach the target of Vision 2020. At this point it is necessary to evaluate the progress made by the government.
Dr. Kalam once said, “Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.” Our Prime Minister Modi is on a mission to achieve Vision 2020 envisaged by the former president.
The Prime Minister’s zeal to realize the vision is seen in single-window scheme for various clearances such as steel, coal and power projects. The ruling NDA government disbanded various ministerial groups for faster decision-making. Next action plan was the launch of Make-in-India, Digital India and Skill India initiatives to create jobs.
Mudra bank launched with Rs 20,000 crore corpus to extend loans of between Rs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs. Action plans on realizing Vision 2020 can be gauged from the following:
- Wind and Solar Energy: Kalam laid special emphasis on solar energy. Prime Minister Modi is equally keen on tapping solar energy. On April 1, 2015, India has set forth on ambitious journey, a mission to provide electricity to 18,452 un-electrified villages in a mere 1,000 days. Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, outlined Government of India’s plans to pursue a green path to growth by doubling investment in clean energy research to US$ 145 million in the next five years from current investment of US$ 72 million.
- There has been a 157% increase in solar capacity since 2014 of 4,132 MW. Solar projects of capacity 20,904 MW were tendered in 2015-16 of which, projects of 11,209 MW have already been awarded. 32 Solar Parks of 19,400 MW capacity have been sanctioned in 20 states.
- Defense and Make in India: Modi-Putin inked mega defense deals. Admiral Grigorowich class (Project 11,356 guided missile stealth frigates). Under this deal, two vessels will be manufactured in India with Russian collaboration. Secondly, the decision to produce 200 Kamov 236T helicopters domestically with the help of Russia is expected to benefit soldiers deployed in high altitudes. India has finally inked a EUR 7.87-billion direct deal with the French government to purchase new Rafale fighter jets. It is likely to bring major work to the Indian private sector in terms of offsets under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Besides high-end tech like engine knowhow, major structural assembly and a chunk of avionics work may also happen in the country.
- Railway modernization: Indian Railways is picking up speed, with co-operation from Japan to get its own Bullet Train. The National High Speed Corporation has commenced action for high-speed railway construction between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
- Indigenous seed development: During his Red Fort speech on August 15, PM claimed, “Our scientists have developed more than 131 new variety of seeds suitable to India’s environment. These will increase per hectare yield.”
- Skilling India: With only 2.3 per cent of the total workforce in India having undergone formal skill training as compared to 68 per cent in the UK and 52 per cent in the US. Dilip Chenoy, the MD and CEO, National Skill Development Organisation, said NSDC has exceeded its target to train individuals and are on track to achieve their targets. They skilled about 3.3 million people last year and are planning to skill six million people this year. NSDC was formed to achieve the target of skilling and up-skilling 150 million people by 2022 by fostering private sector initiatives in the skill development space. Responding to this the Central government initiated:
- Short Term Training imparted at PMKVY Training Centres (TCs)
- Individuals with prior learning experience or skills shall be assessed and certified under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
- The Special Projects component of PMKVY envisages the creation of a platform that will facilitate trainings in special areas and/or premises of Government bodies, Corporates or Industry bodies, and trainings in special job roles not defined under the available Qualification Packs (QPs)/National Occupational Standards (NOSs)
- Kaushal and Rozgar Mela. Social and community mobilization. PMKVY envisages to link the aptitude, aspiration, and knowledge of the skilled workforce it creates with employment opportunities and demands in the market.
Dream and Work
To Dr. Kalam small aim is a crime as he wanted to work and sweat for a great vision. Look at the sky. We are not alone. “The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work,” he exhorted. It seems that the government has taken cue from Dr. Kalam’s quote and working towards it. Now it is the time of students and the youth to dream and work for Vision 2020 by working together with the government.
By Sam Arackal