Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said that former President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s vision helped India charter its course to 21st century.
Speaking at the 3rd memorial lecture on Bharat Ratna Dr Abdul Kalam, he said that he laid out this vision in his ‘India 2020’ roadmap which identified five areas where India had to build core competencies — Agriculture and Food Processing; Education and Healthcare; Information and Communication Technology; Infrastructure, reliable and quality electric power; and surface transport.
The Minister further said that Kalam personified the ideals of diversity and cooperation, apart from having been one of India’s leading defence scientists and spearheading our nation’s missile programme, among many other achievements.
“He was a visionary scientist who developed cutting-edge satellite technology but also advocated for development in rural areas; he was India’s ‘Missile Man’ who enhanced India’s space and defence capabilities, but also dedicated his life towards furthering peace”, Puri said, adding that he was the ‘People’s President’ who left an indelible mark on our citizens through his endearing passion and commitment for a better world, and India first.
Puri also said, “we have come a long way on the roadmap that Dr Kalam had laid out for India.”
“Whether it is infrastructure creation or national security; education or space exploration, the Government of India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the path towards self-reliance and sustainable economic growth which is going to position India as a superpower”, the Minister added.
He also said whether it was the construction of houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, or reaching universal sanitation through the Swachh Bharat Mission, or gaining energy sufficiency through the Ujjwala scheme, this Government has built a strong infrastructural foundation.
“Through the Syama Prasad Mookerji RURBAN Mission, this Government is realising Dr Kalam’s vision of creating rural areas with urban-like infrastructure, and is helping stimulate local economic development, enhance basic services, and create well-planned villages”, the Minister said.
He also said that Modi Government, guided by the philosophy of ‘Antyodaya Se Sarvodaya’ is delivering direct cash transfers and subsidies for food, cooking gas, ration, and displacement and disaster relief, among other social benefits. Using the shared digital infrastructure of JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile), this Government has revolutionised social welfare programming by creating leakage-free mechanisms that promote delivery to the needy. More than Rs 1.78 lakh crore have been saved by adopting the direct transfer model, and the efficacy of this scheme was realised during the Covid-19 pandemic when millions of Indians benefited from the Government’s proactive interventions. He said that 100 crore vaccinations mark will be soon achieved.
Remembering Dr Kalam for the clarity of leadership, Puri said that he was instrumental in unshackling the defence sector and his ardent support for being self-sufficient and developing indigenous technologies to strengthen our defence capabilities was a catalyst for the government reducing its dependence on the imports of defence equipment, and in essence, refusing to kowtow to the international diktat of the time that frequently ignored India’s interests.