Friday, January 04, 2008

PURA model of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Presentation by President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to ADB Team, Philippine Plaza Hotel, Philippines


I am delighted to meet the team of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). My greetings to the President, ADB and all the team members. Today, I would like to present the PURA concept being followed by the Government of India for enhancing the quality of life of seven hundred million rural people living in six hundred thousand villages.

Economic Connectivity for PURA

Providing Urban facilities in Rural Areas (PURA) consisting of four connectivities: physical, electronic, knowledge and there by leading to economic connectivity to enhance the prosperity of clusters of villages in the rural areas. The economic connectivity will generate a market and the production establishments for servicing the market. The PURA has all the dimensions to become a business enterprise, which has global dimensions but operating in every nook and corner of our country. The PURA entrepreneur has to have the skill for evolving a business plan with banks and also create infrastructural support such as educational institutions, health centres and small scale industries, transportation services, tele-education, tele-medicine, e-governance services in the region integrating with the governmental rural development schemes such as road, communication and transport and also with national and global markets to sell the products and services.

PURA Model

Depending upon the region and the state of present development PURA can be classified in three different categories, namely Type A, Type B, Type C - PURA Clusters. The characteristics features of these types are given below:

For example, Type A Cluster is situated closer to an urban area and having minimal road connectivity, limited infrastructure, limited support - school, primary health centre. Type B Cluster is situated Closer to urban area but has sparsely spread infrastructure and no connectivity, Type C Cluster located far interior with no infrastructure, no connectivity and no basic amenities. In addition to this there are coastal PURAs and Hill PURAs.

Criteria for PURA Clusters

Type A Cluster may be with the Population of 30,000 to 1,00,000 in about 10 to 15 villages with adequate land for 4 lane circular road, with out having Canals, Rail and Power line obstacles, ensuring minimum displacement of people, and preferably falls within the district jurisdiction. Similar criteria need to be worked out for B and C clusters.

PURA Enterprise

The small and medium industry enterprises in India have experience in managing the small and medium scale industries of different types in various regions. This sector is widespread in the country and is a promising candidate for taking the leadership and managing the PURA complexes in an integrated way. Also major businesses in India with wide spread rural services have an experience of maintaining large rural-urban networks. PURA enterprises can undertake management of schools, health care units, vocational training centres, chilling plants, silos and building a market, building of local industrial / ICT parks, tourism services, banking system and the regional business or industrial units. A new management style has to emerge for managing such type of PURA enterprises. This new PURA enterprise needs partnership from the bank, educational institutions, Government and the private entrepreneurs. The management system should have the flexibility to be competitive and the country has to experiment several models depending on local needs. Now I would like to discuss some of the operational PURAs in India.

Periyar PURA (Tamil Nadu): I have inaugurated Periyar PURA complex pioneered by Periyar Maniammai College of Technology for Women, Vallam, Tanjore a year back. I thought of sharing with you the developmental concept of a cluster of over 65 villages near Vallam, Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu that involves a population of 3 lakh. This PURA complex has all the three Connectivities - physical, electronic and knowledge - leading to economic connectivity. The center of activity emanates from the women engineering college that provides the electronic and knowledge connectivity. Periyar PURA has health care centers, primary to post graduate level education and vocational training centers. This has resulted in large-scale employment generation and creation of number of entrepreneurs with the active support of 850 self-help groups. Two hundreds acres of waste land has been developed into a cultivable land with innovative water management schemes such as contour ponds and water sheds for storing and irrigating the fields. All the villagers are busy in cultivation, planting Jatropha, herbal and medicinal plants, power generation using bio-mass, food processing and above all running marketing centres. This model has emanated independent of any government initiative. The committed leadership has been provided by the Engineering institution. Recently, 5 of Periyar PURA villages are connected through Wi-MAX Wireless and having min 4 mbps connectivity with the Periyar PURA Nodel centre. It provides a sustainable economic development in that region. This gives me the confidence that PURA is a realizable proposition and this movement can be multiplied by thousands of entrepreneurs, educational administrators, small-scale industrialists and bankers with the support of the government agencies.

PURA - Loni Model (Maharashtra): Recently, I visited a place called Loni in Maharashtra where a participative model of integrated rural development has come up among 44 villages with the population of 80 thousand. The Loni PURA model has been pioneered by Pravara Medical trust. It is improving the productivity of the rural people through improved quality of life with healthcare, education and employment. The concept is people centric development for social transformation. The thrust area of development has been on comprehensive Medicare particularly for women and children, need based health education and e-connectivity to the farmers. The complex has created 27 educational and vocational institutions consisting of schools, colleges, polytechnic and ITI including medical and engineering colleges. They have created sugar factory, biogas plants, chemical plants and power projects. They have large number of self-help groups for providing low interest loan for the weaker sections in the society. Due to the co-operative effort of the people, literacy in these villages has gone up from 63% to 83%, birth rate has come down, infant mortality rate has decreased to 35 per 1000 from 70 per 1000 and the standard of living of the people has gone up by over 20% compared to other villages in the neighbouring areas.

Chitrakoot PURA (Madhya Pradesh): Recently I visited Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh, where I met Shri Nana Deshmukhji (Age 90) and his team members belonging to Deendayal Research Institute (DRI). DRI is a unique institution developing and implementing a village development model, which is most suited for India.

DRI understands that people's power is more potent, stable and enduring than political power. By becoming one with the oppressed and depressed, one gains the acumen of administration and governance. Social advancement and prosperity are possible only by injecting the spirit of self-reliance and excellence in the younger generation. Using this principle, DRI has plans to develop one hundred clusters of villages having approximately five villages each around Chitrakoot. They have already developed 80 villages in 16 clusters consisting of about 50,000 people.

I witnessed one of the villages called Patni where the institute has promoted sustainable development based on indigenous and traditional technology, knowledge systems and local talents. The research work by the institute through field studies facilitates the development of replicable and tangible model for achieving self-reliance in villages. The programme aims at income generation through value addition, innovative agricultural practices, inculcating scientific temper among the villagers, improvement of health and hygiene, striving towards 100% literacy. As a part of integrated rural development, the villagers are doing water harvesting; effectively use it for cultivation of food grains, medicinal and aromatic and horticulture cultivation.

Apart from all these development activities, the institute is facilitating a cohesive conflict free society. As a result of this, I understand that the eighty villages around Chitrakoot are almost litigation free. The villagers have unanimously decided that no dispute will find its way to court. The differences will be sorted out amicably in the village itself. The reason given by Nana Deshmukhji is that if the people fight among each other they have no time for development. They can neither develop themselves nor the community. This message has been understood by the society and they have decided not to embark on any fighting. All these have been accomplished through DRIs "samaj-shil-pi dampati" (a graduate married couple) a new concept of counseling and intervention promoted by DRI. It was a great joy for me to take lunch with Patni village citizens. A new road connecting multiple villages in the Chitrakoot area is taking shape. In the same Chitrakoot environment there is another social organization called Shri Sadguru Seva Sangh trust is carrying out number of social activities including the running of quality eye care center. In a rural environment, I find a revolution is taking place due to the committed leadership to remove the human pain.

Byrraju PURA: Recently, on 9th January 2006, I visited Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh where I saw Byrraju PURA set up by Byrraju Foundation which is established by a software industry. This Foundation has undertaken the mission of establishing 32 Ashwini centers benefiting 116 villages with the population of around 500,000 people. It has provided the electronic connectivity and knowledge connectivity. It has skill enabled and knowledge enabled in multiple areas and created 3000 jobs with the minimum earning of Rs. 3,000 per month, this is 3 times that of their earlier earning potential. They have created a Gram IT BPO which has brought 10% reverse migration from Hyderabad to Bhimavaram (city to village). I would suggest the other industry captains to come forward with such PURAs with physical connectivity, electronic connectivity and knowledge connectivity leading to large scale employment and wealth generation in the region. This will enable emigration from cities to rural areas as I have noticed in Bhimavaram.

This Foundation has also brought out an emergency medical service to the people of 5 districts in Andhra Pradesh in association with the Emergency Management and Research Institute. When a person dials 108, a toll-free number from any tele-phone, the Advanced Life support system ambulance reaches the spot and saves the life. They have saved more than 1000 lives. The service has been extended to two more districts. International Disaster Management Agencies can take note of this experience for propagating such type of services in different countries.

Suggestions for ADB

1. ADB can consider creation of eight ASEAN PURA Clusters in eight ASEAN countries namely Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

2. For each PURA, ADB can also create ten self-help groups who can fund the small cottage industries for creating self employment for the youth of the region.

3. As is being practiced in Taiwan villages, ADB can also consider creation of one village one product scheme based on the core competence of the villages in the respective ASEAN countries. The aim should be that the selected product must have a national and international market. India will be very happy to share the experiences in commissioning of these PURAs.
Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi


Mani Bhushan Thakur said...

Its a nice blog giving glimps of Pura model and few examples. I feel all these Pura model should have some short of integration at some level to exchange their work and experience to obstacles. I am highly motivated with system engineering and also working with this nich incorporating Pura model as well... Hope dream comes true...

avinash misra said...

an excellent glimpse of pura......but this Development model has yet echoed in many ears..... so it requires an active participation of masses to understand the crux of the matter and act as the bullet or fuel in it's implementation