Kalam's call to IIT alumni

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Hyderabad, Jan 26 (UNI) Former President A P J Abdul Kalam today urged IIT alumni to adopt clusters of villages in the country under Providing Urban Facilities in Rural Areas (PURA), especially in backward regions, including eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

''India cannot become a developed country without the development of these regions,'' he said while launching an entrepenuership programme of the TIE, Hyderabad and Pan IIT Alumni Association on the occasion of Republic Day.

''The nine per cent GDP growth rate is only an urban visibility.

It has to reach the rural areas also and PURA is the solution,'' he asserted. His address was webcast in 16 cities simultaneously.

''We need to maintain a growth rate of ten per cent for a decade to lift the 220 million people living below the poverty line'', he said, adding along with economic development, ''value system'' should be inculcated in the youth.

''A lot of opportunities are there in six lakh villages across the country. If you are a good entreprenuer, you should go in for development of one innovative product in each village,'' he told the IITians.

Referring to PURA initiative in an engineering college in Vallam in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu, he said it has successfully provided physical, electronic and knowledge connectivity, resulting in economic development.

''We need to develop at least 7,000 PURA clusters across the country,'' he said, setting a target for IITians of achieving at least 100 PURA clusters by 2009.

Pointing out that ten million people would enter the job market every year, he said ''IITians should not be job seekers but job providers.'' India would be a nation having demographic dividend till 2050, he said, calling for channelising the energies of youth and equipping them with employable skills.

UNI SM VV GM SY RAI2216

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