CHENNAI: As a technocrat responsible for the safety and security of the country, former President APJ Abdul Kalam was instrumental in winning the war against Pakistan in 1971, but as the leader that he transformed into in the later years, the ‘Missile Man’ was keen on ensuring peace and prosperity in the strife-torn neighbouring nation by advocating his pet idea — Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA).
MS Swaminathan, the architect of green revolution who shared a three-decades-long association with Kalam, said, when Pakistan President General Musharraf met Kalam in 2005, he advocated the concept of PURA as he wanted to bridge the rural-urban divide in that country too.
According to Swaminathan, he, too, is working towards realising the PURA dream by spending most of the `18-crore funds under Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme in creating basic infrastructure like drinking water, schools, electricity etc.
With the vision that if the villages developed the country will also develop, Kalam wanted both India and Pakistan to implement PURA, said Swaminathan. The concept of PURA, he added, was first sown by Mahatma Gandhi.
Paying tributes to the former President, he gave out the account of and said most of them were spent in creating basic amenities in rural areas.
“We remember Kalam for his concept to bridge the rural-urban divide. The projects taken under the MPLADS is mostly spent on rural areas to help provide the backward area with basic infrastructure,” Swaminathan said.
He also highlighted that north-east was a special area of interest for Kalam as he wanted the need for more attention to be paid to the region.
Earlier, hailing India for bringing in the food security legislation, Swaminathan said that it makes access to food a legal right not a political patronage but at the same time expressed concern over the rise in farmers’ suicides.
The agriculture scientist also highlighted how accountability is going out of dictionary under the MPLADS scheme.
On the 74 projects implemented under MPLADS, Swaminathan said most of the fund was spent on education sector, building community centres in rural areas, village development and libraries. He also stressed that through these funds, much can be done, as it is flexible funding.