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India must meet the needs of one billion people: Kalam

Written by: Staff
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Berhampur, July 4 (UNI) President A P J Abdul Kalam today said India must meet the needs of one billion people to transform into a developed nation.

'' Our nation is going through a major challenge to uplift 260 million people who are below the poverty line, and they need habitat, food, health care, education and employment to lead a good life,'' Dr Kalam said while inaugurating Platinum Jubilee celebration of City High School here.

The President said the country's GDP was growing at nearly eight per cent per annum, whereas, the economists suggested that to uplift people from the BPL, the economy has to grow at the rate of an additional minimum of two per cent per annum consistently, for over a decade.

He said five areas--agriculture and food processing, education and healthcare, infrastructure for all parts of the country information and communication technology and self-reliance in strategic sectors, when effectively addressed would lead to food, economy, energy and national security for sustainable prosperity.

Dr Kalam said the emphasis must be on full utilisation of natural and human resources of the region to meet the demands of modern society.

'' We should also remember that about 50 per cent of our population consists of young people, with aspirations for a better life,'' he said.

On being asked by a student as to whether eradication of poverty is a reality or dream in Indian situation, the President said 50 per cent of the population was below poverty line in 1950 which has been reduced to 22 per cent today and will be further reduced to nearly zero per cent by 2020.

To another question on finding a technical solution to the backwardness of Orissa despite abundant natural minerals and human resources, Dr Kalam said the state has to have a 10-year vision to increase the per capita income of the state, three times of what it was today.

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