Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam was an extraordinary scientist, visionary leader, passionate teacher and a compassionate human being, who inspired Indian youth to aim high and dream big.
He was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration.
He was responsible for the development of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles. He also played important role in the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy, which made India a nuclear weapon State.
As a young boy from humble background, Shri Kalam sold newspapers to support his family’s income. And he rose to the highest office in India.
He dreamt of building a developed India and took up a mission to ignite the young minds for national development by meeting the students across the country.
"Children have hard-wired ability to be creative, imaginative and innovative that often diminishes along the way. These inherent capabilities have to be identified and encouraged to have a new breed of innovative thinkers who are prepared to solve future challenges of our world."
Dr Kalam was not just a role model for the children, he had an inherent passion for teaching and a zeal to inspire children to become good citizens.
"The aim of the teacher should be to build character, human values enhance the learning capacity of children through technology and build the confidence among children to be innovative and creative which in turn will make them competitive to face the future."
Traditionally teacher has got a reverential place in Indian society. Our Shastras say –
Meaning that ‘I bow to the ‘Guru’ who to me is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, Guru is the supreme God’.
Echoing this age old Indian wisdom, Dr Kalam said,
In this last speech, Dr Kalam talked of ‘Creating a livable earth’ and said –
In this last speech, Dr.Kalam laid the blueprint of his ‘World vision 2030 of a livable planet earth’. Many of the ideas in this ‘World Vision 2030’ were already discussed by him in his famous ‘Vision 2020 - Ten Pillars of Development’.
In this regard, it would be appropriate to revisit his famous concept of PURA – Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas. Connectivity is at the core of the PURA concept.
A noble initiative for providing Physical connectivity by building rural roads roads was launched under the leadership former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The scheme Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana was launched to connect all villages with roads. I was Rural Development Minister then and was closely associated with this project which was very close to my heart.
It is praiseworthy that now the government has decided to launch the 3rd Phase of this scheme. It involves upgradation of one lakh twenty five thousand kilometres of rural roads in the coming five years. In this phase focus will be onthose roads that connect habitations with agricultural markets, schools and hospitals.
Over four lakh kilometres Optical Fibre Cable has already been laid in 1.46 lakh Gram Panchayats.
Following the core philosophy of Dr Kalam’s vision of reducing the gap between rural and urban facilities, the Government has launched the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM). It aims at developing rural areas by provisioning of economic, social and physical infrastructure facilities.
In this regard, it is noteworthy India has achieved landmarks in energy access with every willing rural household provided with an electricity connection under Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya scheme. Only few households are left in four naxal affected districts. Even the International Energy Agency called it as the one of ‘the greatest success stories of the year 2018’.
As far as the quality water supply is concerned, the Government is committed to provide Har Ghar Jal (piped water supply) to all rural households by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission. A new Jal Shakti Mantralaya, has been constituted for integrated and holistic water management.
It is heartening that the Government has launched a number of initiatives in the area of energy efficiency. UJALA is a proven example of it. Under this scheme, traditional bulbs were replaced with more power efficient LED bulbs. Under this more than 36 crore LED bulbs have been distributed so far. It is saving 47,000 million units of electricity per year. Similarly more than one crore LED streetlights have been installed in place of traditional ones, saving 7210 million units of electricity per year.
In his Vision 2020, Dr Kalam dreamt of a nation where the best of healthcare is available to all. Ayushman Bharat Scheme is a step in that direction. This is the “world’s largest government funded healthcare program” targeting more than 50 crore beneficiaries.
Towards this end, the Government of India has set an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. Prime Minister has taken lead in establishing International Solar Alliance to harness the power of sun.
Agni was on launch pad and night before the launch was a stressful one. The Defence Minister asked Dr Kalam, “what would you like me to do to celebrate the Agni success tomorrow”?
The next day Agni took off at 0710 hrs and it was a perfect launch.
It was year 2010 United Nations paid him respect by declaring his birthday as 'World Students Day'. Similarly, Switzerland declared May 26 as Science Day in his honour and NASA named a new organism found on International Space Station after the Dr.Kalam.
The ‘Missile Man’ was always a ‘Smiling Man’. He set up the examples of personal integrity in life. He donated his entire presidential salary to a trust named PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas), which was also formed by himself. The list of his good deeds is innumerable and invaluable.
Let us all believe in and work towards realizing the vision and make India a developed nation.