Tuesday, January 25, 2005

President Kalam's mantra for national prosperity

Following is an extract from the Indian President Kalam’s Republic Day speech echoing the same concerns I raised in the blog India in the year 2020.

Changing Pattern of Society

When the world was moving from the industrial to the information and knowledge era, we witnessed a changing pattern in the sectoral share of Gross Domestic Product and the number of people employed in each sector. The share of GDP percentage has undergone a considerable change. Contribution of agriculture to India's GDP has reduced from 39 percent to 22 percent during the period 1979 to 2004. During the same period the contribution of the manufacturing sector has moved from 24 percent to 27 percent and whereas the contribution of the service sector has increased from 37 percent to 51 percent. There has been considerable change in the employment pattern also. The percentage of people employed in agriculture has come down from 64 percent to 54 percent. Simultaneously, the percentage of people employed in manufacturing has gone up from 15 percent to 19 percent and in the service sector from 20 percent to 27 percent. This trend has to continue and by 2020 our employment pattern should aim at 44 percent in agriculture, 21 percent in manufacturing and 35 percent in service sectors. The displacement of 10 percent people from the agriculture sector has to be facilitated through skill enabling for undertaking value added tasks in rural enterprises so that migration to urban areas is reduced. Instead of person from rural areas going to urban towns in search of jobs in manufacturing and services sectors, PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) will facilitate creation of employment in rural areas. PURA achieves this by providing physical, electronic and knowledge connectivities to a cluster of villages thereby leading to their economic connectivity and prosperity.

National Employment Status

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill 2004 was tabled in Parliament in its last session to create employment opportunities in the rural sector. What is needed is coordinated planning and linking of the spirit of this Bill to productive and sustainable employment generation schemes for the unemployed youth. Now I would like to discuss the national employment scenario.

As per the estimates of the Planning Commission, the total number of people eligible for employment at present is approximately 400 million. Out of this, nine percent are unemployed which works out to around 36 million. In addition, there is a need to find value added employment for 10 percent of those employed in the agriculture sector in rural areas. Our attempt hence should be to find gainful employment for around 76 million people. This will add to our productivity and will ensure a sustained 10 percent GDP growth for the decade, which is an essential need for India to become a developed country before 2020.

Dear Citizens, a nation of a billion people that is capable of exporting foodgrains, a nation that is recognised for its software products and services, a nation that can build its own aerospace systems and nuclear power plants, a nation that is leading in the pharma and automobile industries, I am sure, will be able to put all its think tanks together and come up with many innovative wealth generating schemes for the productive employment of 76 million people.

The complete text of President A P J Abdul Kalam's address to the nation on the eve of the country's 56th Republic Day is available in this URL : http://us.rediff.com/news/2005/jan/25prez.htm

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