Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hindu: Abdul Kalam's vision for Karnataka

Abdul Kalam's vision for Karnataka

The Hindu

The President unveils 11-point plan, wants economic activity spread across the State

# The goals set Achieve 100 per cent literacy by 2012
# Increase per capita income to Rs. 75,000 by 2009
# Develop tier-two cities such as Mysore and Mangalore
# Create Metro rail system for Bangalore

Bangalore: President A.P.J Abdul Kalam on Sunday set the Government and the legislators of Karnataka thinking and placed before them an 11-point agenda for development to transfer the State into an economically-developed model State over the next four years.

He was addressing a joint sitting of the two Houses of the Legislature at a function held at the ornate Legislative Assembly chamber, heralding the inauguration of the "Suvarna Karnataka" anniversary, the 50th year of the reorganisation of the State.

In an inspiring address, Mr. Kalam played the role of a think-tank and he wanted the missions he was placing before the legislators, debated in depth by the State Legislature, which is one of the few bicameral ones in the country.

Quoting from the development radar of the Planning Commission, Mr. Kalam pinpointed the problems of Karnataka, which he noted has a "core competence". He also noted that the Government of Karnataka has already chalked out a road map for the State's full-fledged development. Karnataka has 19 per cent of its population living below the poverty line.

"The first mission is to elevate all of them and bring smiles to their faces". It could be done by focused development leading to higher per capita income and better quality of life. The literacy rate in the State, which stood at 67 per cent, should be increased and emphasis laid on spreading literacy among women. The State should aim at realising the goal of 100 per cent literacy by 2012," he said.

The per capita income of Rs. 26,000 estimated in 2004-05 could be almost trebled to Rs. 75,000 by 2009. An investment-friendly climate should be created to open employment avenues to the two million unemployed or underemployed persons of the State, the President said.

The 11 missions he exhorted the State to take up are textiles, energy (bio fuel mission and power through municipal waste), horticulture, agro-processing, water management, tourism, preparing paramedics and technicians with quality training, creation of industries for knowledge products, grid connectivity for sustainable growth, providing urban amenities in rural areas and development facilitators. Noting that the high revenue information and communication technology industries are concentrated in Bangalore, which occupies one per cent of the area of the State but has 14 per cent of the population, he wanted economic activity distributed across the State to ensure homogenous growth taking into consideration the core competence of the regions.

There is need to develop tier-two cities such as Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Gulbarga and Madikeri. Reliable air connectivity, construction of four to six-lane roads and fast train services. "I have seen Bangalore in 1970s, 1980s , 1990s and now. Bangalore's economic growth has far exceeded the growth of development facilitators. The core attraction of Bangalore as a development facilitator is getting slowly eroded," Mr. Kalam said. The President, who was a Bangalorean right from 1958, noted that the "road capacity in Bangalore has reached a saturation point. This can be achieved through alternative possibilities such as creation of metro rail system and early commencement of the project is a necessity". He also emphasised that the development of the city should not be at the cost of its greenery, which makes Bangalore beautiful.

Mr. Kalam also wanted the Government to turn its attention to development of entrepreneurship among the youth.

Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh spoke of the dynamism of the State in thinking and action.

Governor T.N. Chaturvedi said that Karnataka is already foremost in many areas and it will keep up the momentum of growth.,

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