M A I N   N E W S

Kalam focuses on 5 critical sectors
Says more jobs, IT must for progress
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 25
Calling for an employment generation action plan, President A P J Abdul Kalam underlined the need for launching a series of missions covering agriculture and food processing, education, health care, information technology and infrastructure development covering about 80 million people in the next five years.

Typical of his direct approach, Mr Kalam stressed, “The only way of overcoming shattering of the dreams is through employment generation as it represents the aspirations and anxiety of 540 million youth of the country. Hence I have selected the topic Action Plan for Employment Generation,” the President observed in his customary address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day.

He noted that a new situation was emerging on the national scene of an ascending economic trajectory, continuously rising foreign exchange reserve and global recognition of technological competence. “The only answer to retain the smile from the child to the youth is to generate employment.”

Mr Kalam alluded to launching missions in five critical sectors coupled with setting up of a new research and development centre for transforming India into a developed nation by 2020.

He said the need of the hour was coordinated planning and linking of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill, tabled in Parliament late last year, with productive and sustainable employment generation schemes for unemployed youth.

Quoting Planning Commission figures, Mr Kalam said 400 million persons were eligible for employment at present. Out of this 9 per cent are unemployed which amounted to about 36 million.

In addition there was a need to find value-added employment for 10 per cent of those employed in the agriculture and rural areas.

The attempt should, therefore, be to find gainful employment for around 76 million which would add to the productivity and ensure sustained 10 per cent GDP growth for the decade to catapult India in the league of developed countries.

He said the trend of employment decreasing in the agriculture sector and going up in manufacturing had to continue and “by 2020 our employment pattern should aim at 44 per cent in agriculture, 21 per cent in manufacturing and 35 per cent in service sectors.”

Mr Kalam emphasised that the education system should proactively build entrepreneurial and vocational capacities in students. Rural development had to provide maximum benefit to villages in a cost effective way. Banks would have to provide hassle-free loans to rural enterprises and those who have creative ideas. The banks would also have to assist with venture capital. Existing agriculture and agro-processing credits would have to be increased.

He said that tsunami had caused severe damage to our coastal regions and islands. Planning the reconstruction had to be an integrated one for promoting the prosperity of the coastal region.

Since broadband fibre connectivity had reached beyond the block level in districts and satellite communication density had also increased, Mr Kalam said this was the time for information technology, R & D and ICT industrial establishments to reach out to rural areas.

Advocating bio-fuel generation, he said there were nearly 63 million hectares of wasteland available in the country of which 33 million hectares had been allotted for tree plantation. Bio-fuel plants grown in 11 million hectares could yield a revenue of Rs 20,000 crore annually besides providing employment to more than 12 million people.

Mr Kalam added that the national parliamentary system should become the role model for the nation in legislative performance, in clean and progressive administration and nobility and speedy justice.

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