ACTION PLAN FOR EMPLOYMENT GENERATION
PRESIDENT'S REPUBLIC DAY EVE ADDRESS TO THE NATION
The President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, has called for launching missions in
the areas of agriculture and food processing, education and health care,
information and communication technology, infrastructure development and
self-reliance in critical technologies leading to transforming India into a
developed nation by 2020. In his address to the nation on the eve of the
56th Republic Day, the President said that the only way to retain the smile
in the youth was by generating employment. He outlined bio-fuel generation,
wasteland development, water harvesting and recycling, bamboo mission,
converting fly ash as a wealth generator, textile industry, healthcare, and
village knowledge centers as potential sectors to generate approximately 56
million direct employment during the next five year. This would be in
addition to other employment avenues in the government and private sector.
Creating 76 million jobs in the next five years would be feasible only if
the scheme would be taken up in mission mode, he added.
Following is the text of the President's Republic Day eve address:
"Everyone has inside of him or her, a piece of good news.
The good news is, that you don't know how great you can be!"
"Dear Citizens, on the eve of the 56th Republic Day of India, my greetings
to all of you, including those living abroad. I convey my special greetings,
to the members of our armed forces and the paramilitary forces, who guard
our frontiers on the land, the sea and in the air and also the internal
security forces. While we are saddened by the wrath of the Tsunami waves, we
are not disheartened. The Central and State Governments, with utmost
seriousness and sincerity have reached out to those who needed help and are
in the process of providing relief that will atleast partially wipe out the
pains caused by the Tsunami. During this period of active relief
operations, my heart was with you, but I did not make a visit because
the members of the Government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) were
deployed in large numbers in relief operations, which were in
full swing. Reviews were taken by our Prime Minister, Governors, the Chief
Ministers of the respective states and the Lt. Governor of the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands. Now, I feel that the time has come, for me to join you, my
fellow citizens, to study the process of the reconstruction of homes and
bringing back normalcy.
Smile of Youth
I have met more than six hundred thousand children from all
parts of our country, after becoming the President. During my
interaction with them, they posed a series of questions, with affection.
"Mr. President, you saw us smile, when we were five years old.
We smiled because we were blossoming innocently. When we came
to our teens, smiles slowly faded away and the signs of concern appeared.
You said that it is because of our anxiety about our future.
This anxiety, almost took away our smiles. When we complete our education,
the top most questions in our mind were, what would I do
after my education? Will I get employment? Our parents, who have spent all
their savings on our education, also share the same concern. Mr.
President, will I get proper employment and be able to contribute to India,
to make it a Developed Nation?" Their questions really made me
to think and think.
Concerns about employment are not only for those who are
fortunate enough to have school and college education. It is the same
fading away of the smiles, the shattering of the dreams and the weaning away
of the gleam in the eyes that we see in every cross section of youth in the
country. The only answer to retain the smile from the child to the youth is
to generate employment. It represents the aspirations and anxiety of nearly
540 million youth of our nation. Hence, I have selected the topic for the
Republic Day address as "Action Plan for Employment Generation."
In my earlier address to the Nation on the eve of the 58th
Independence Day, I talked to you on "Education for Dignity of Human
Life". The whole purpose of education in a country like India is to develop
and enhance the potential of our human resource and progressively transform
it into a knowledge society. The knowledge society will be a society
producing products and services that are rich in both explicit and tacit
knowledge, thus creating value added products. The real capital of this
knowledge society will be its knowledge workers. This society will be highly
networked to create a knowledge intensive environment along with an enabling
process to efficiently create, share, use and protect knowledge. Our
education system should re-align itself at the earliest to meet the needs of
present day challenges and be fully geared to participate in societal
Changing Pattern of Society
When the world was moving from the industrial to the information
and knowledge era, we witnessed a changing pattern in the sectoral share of
Gross Domestic Product and the number of people employed in each sector.
The share of GDP percentage has undergone a considerable change.
Contribution of agriculture to India's GDP has reduced from 39 percent to 22
percent during the period 1979 to 2004. During the same period the
contribution of the manufacturing sector has moved from 24 percent to 27
percent and whereas the contribution of the service sector has increased
from 37 percent to 51 percent. There has been considerable change in the
employment pattern also. The percentage of people employed in agriculture
has come down from 64 percent to 54 percent. Simultaneously, the percentage
of people employed in manufacturing has gone up from 15 percent to 19
percent and in the service sector from 20 percent to 27 percent. This trend
has to continue and by 2020 our employment pattern should aim at 44 percent
in agriculture, 21 percent in manufacturing and 35 percent in service
sectors. The displacement of 10 percent people from the agriculture sector
has to be facilitated through skill enabling for undertaking value added
tasks in rural enterprises so that migration to urban areas is reduced.
Instead of person from rural areas going to urban towns in search of jobs in
manufacturing and services sectors, PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural
Areas) will facilitate creation of employment in rural areas. PURA achieves
this by providing physical, electronic and knowledge connectivities to a
cluster of villages thereby leading to their economic connectivity and
National Employment Status
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Bill 2004 was tabled in
Parliament in its last session to create employment opportunities in the
rural sector. What is needed is coordinated planning and linking of the
spirit of this Bill to productive and sustainable employment generation
schemes for the unemployed youth. Now I would like to discuss the national
As per the estimates of the Planning Commission, the total
number of people eligible for employment at present is approximately 400
million. Out of this, nine percent are unemployed which works out to around
36 million. In addition, there is a need to find value added employment for
10 percent of those employed in the agriculture sector in rural areas. Our
attempt hence should be to find gainful employment for around 76 million
people. This will add to our productivity and will ensure a sustained 10
percent GDP growth for the decade, which is an essential need for India to
become a developed country before 2020.
Dear Citizens, a nation of a billion people that is capable of
exporting foodgrains, a nation that is recognised for its software products
and services, a nation that can build its own aerospace systems and nuclear
power plants, a nation that is leading in the pharma and automobile
industries, I am sure, will be able to put all its think tanks together and
come up with many innovative wealth generating schemes for the productive
employment of 76 million people.
Let me share with you how to generate employment. The most
important sectors for sustainable national development are Agriculture,
Education, Healthcare, Water and Energy. The common thread that will run
across these would be the three connectivities of PURA. One of the ways by
which rural agriculturists could increase their earnings is by value adding
to the agricultural produce through processing and manufacturing. Farmers,
either individually or through their co-operatives would market processed
and value added items instead of marketing raw materials. This increase in
value-addition taking place in rural areas itself is an indicator of society
moving towards prosperity and a knowledge era.
I would like to suggest a few schemes that can bring large-scale
employment and prosperity to our people.
We have nearly 63 million hectares of wasteland available in the
country, out of which 33 million hectares have been allotted for tree
plantation. Certain multi-purpose bio-fuel plants can grow well in
wastelands with very minimum input. Once cultivated, the crop has fifty
years of life. Fruiting can take place in two years.
Bio-fuel plants grown in parts of wastelands, for example, 11
million hectares can yield a revenue of approximately Rs. 20,000 crore a
year and provide employment to over 12 million people both for plantation
and running of extraction plants. It will reduce foreign exchange outflow
for import of crude oil, cost of which is continuously rising in the
international market. Bio-fuel is Carbon mono-oxide emission free. The oil
can also be used for soap and in the candle industry. De-oiled cake is a raw
material for composting and the plantation is also good for honey
production. We should absorb the best of technologies available worldwide
and start commercial operations immediately. One time investment needed for
bio-fuel plantation to production in 11 million hectares will be
approximately Rs. 27,000 crore. Capital equipment and investment in plant
and machinery can come from bank loans and private sector entrepreneurs.
I have seen the progress in bio-fuel plant cultivation, preparation of
seedlings, tissue culture and development of non-toxic hybrid varieties in
the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore. They have also worked
from processing of seeds to bio-fuel production by indigenous design and
development of bio-fuel plants. Anand Agriculture University at Anand in
Gujarat has also made progress in bio-fuel cultivation and processing in
Gujarat. Bio-fuel plants can be grown in a number of states in the Southern,
Western and Central parts of the country.
Waste Land Development - Opportunities
ICRISAT with its international experience of working in arid
regions, has developed short duration, disease and drought resistant
varieties of important crops beneficial to our farmers. They have introduced
various tillage practices and nutrition management techniques, to boost crop
yields even under drought stress. This technology will enable us to reclaim
5 more million hectares of the 33 million hectares of wasteland allotted for
productive farming. As per the experts, this will result in the deployment
of 15 million people for dry land cultivation.
Water Harvesting and Recycling
Water harvesting should become mandatory for all. To improve the
watertable, we need to build check dams, develop water sheds, desilt ponds
and rivers, clear the inlets and outlets to ponds and water bodies and
recharge wells. If our rural areas are made to have operational water
bodies, recharging of wells will take place. The task is totally labour
intensive and nation wide implementation of this scheme will provide
employment for six million persons for more than three or four years. The
scheme will result in an increase in storage capacity of water bodies and
create additional irrigation potential for land in and enhance agricultural
This mission envisages an integrated programme of expansion of
plantations of the Bamboo species, the scientific management and promotion
of community level value addition and entrepreneurship. This will enable
presenting raw material for industries and the industry to access and apply
modern technology for producing globally competitive new generation bamboo
products. This includes setting up of clusters of small value addition
processing units near the resource for employment generation and benefit the
local small entrepreneur. Processed raw material suitable for
ultimate use in industry and the handicraft sector will be required, for
economising handling cost of raw material to the location of the industry
proposed to be set up in different parts of the country.
The programme envisages the cultivation of bamboo over two
million hectares and promotion of technology and networking for enhancing
trade. Economic and social benefits from these activities, will lead to the
creation of 8.6 million jobs and market opportunities worth over Rs.6,500
crore with an investment of Rs.2,600 crore. This will be useful for the
additional development of the North-Eastern region. We should use management
personnel, industrial experts and business houses to provide international
market connectivity for our bamboo products leading to sustainable growth,
wealth generation and positive contribution to the growth of our GDP.
Institutions like the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, the Indian
Institutes of Management, Industrial houses, State Governments and the
Ministry of Agriculture can work together to generate a number of Bamboo
enterprises in different rural clusters.
Converting Fly Ash as a Wealth Generator
As you are aware, the use of coal for power generation results
in an increased quantum of fly ash production, which has reached about 100
million tonnes per year. All out efforts are needed to utilise this fly ash
not only from environmental considerations, but also to avoid land usage for
fly ash dumping. Though there has been a steady progress in fly ash
utilisation from 1990, we have a long way to go to reach the target of 100
percent fly ash utilisation. It is reported that the agricultural increase
of grains is around 15 percent, green vegetables 35 percent and root
vegetables 50 percent, when fly ash is mixed with soil. Toxicity tests have
proved that there is no toxic element due to fly ash. But it has higher
nutrients due to
increased availability of iron and calcium. Fly ash can become a wealth
generator by making use of it for producing "green building" materials,
roads, agriculture etc. Full utilisation of the generating stock, will
provide employment potential for three hundred thousand people and result in
a business volume of over Rs.4,000 crore.
The textile industry is very important for the Indian economy.
The basic raw material is cotton. India is the third largest producer of
cotton in the world. However, compared to the world average of 700
kilogrammes of seed cotton per acre we produce only 350 kilogrammes of seed
cotton per acre. It is indeed a technological concern for the nation. Some
of the industries have adopted a village in Punjab, which has launched a
cooperative movement of farmers, scientists, trainers and industry for
cultivating cotton in over 1200 acres. A training programme was launched for
farmers starting with soil characterisation, matching the cotton seed to the
soil, water and fertilizer management.
The project resulted in increasing the average seed cotton yield
of the village from 450 kilogrammes per acre to 950 kilogrammes per acre.
This led to a seven-fold increase in net return per acre, due to
considerable reduction in input costs. It is worth noting that in this case
the yield is above the world average. This model has already been replicated
in ten villages and can be emulated by many cotton-growing regions of the
country. India can definitely produce 25 percent of the total world
production of quality cotton compared to the existing 12 percent leading to
a revenue of over Rs.25,000 crore a year for the nation.
I would like to link cotton production to the garment export
business, which is a low investment and large volume employment generator.
India is presently exporting six billion U.S. Dollars worth of garments,
whereas with the WTO regime in place, we can increase the production and
export of garments to 18 to 20 billion U.S. Dollars within the next five
years. This will enable generation of employment in general and in rural
areas in particular. By tripling the export of apparels, we can add more
than 5 million direct jobs and 7 million indirect jobs in the allied sector,
primarily in the cultivation of cotton. Concerted efforts are needed in
cotton research, technology generation, transfer of technology,
modernisation and upgrading of
ginning and pressing factories and an aggressive marketing strategy.
Another area, which is an employment generator, is the healthcare industry.
We have only one doctor for one thousand eight hundred people, whereas in
some of the developed countries the doctor to population ratio is 1: 600.
For providing quality healthcare to all of our citizens, we would need at
least doubling the strength of doctors and paramedical staff in the whole
country. The investment for this, need not necessarily come from the
Government alone. Hospitals can be setup by the private sector with certain
tax concessions and subsidised infrastructural support.
Setting up of 30000 static tele-medicine stations distributed in
30000 key locations, within a zone of 3 lakh villages and providing 20000
mobile tele-medicine units will enable the reaching of quality healthcare
closer to every home, which is connected to the district, state government
hospitals, corporate hospitals and super specialty hospitals in the country.
This is possible as India has a network of satellite communication.
How to reach healthcare for the large number of our population?
An innovative method has come into action in certain states. This system
provides free health cover to citizens who are members and pay Rs.10 per
individual per month as an insurance premium. State and Central Governments
can sponsor this insurance scheme involving the payment of a small premium
of Rs.10 per individual per month by citizens in different states of the
country. Such an insurance cover should be able to provide treatment for
all types of diseases including expensive open heart surgery. A consortium
is required to be formed in different states between the Government,
insurance agencies, corporate hospitals and NGO's for providing
integrated cost effective healthcare. The scheme when fully operational can
provide direct employment for an additional 600,000 doctors and 1.2 million
paramedical staff. Apart from providing healthcare to citizens, these
corporate hospitals can attract large number of medical tourists to the
country in view of our competitiveness in treating complex diseases. I am
very happy to know that the scientific community for health is working on
anti HIV vaccine development programme which is in an advanced stage of
development. The success of this programme will be a breakthrough in
containing the HIV virus.
Village Knowledge Centres
With the kind of awareness and opportunities available in Information and
Communication Technology (ICT), it will soon become a reality wherein every
one of our villages will have computers and connectivity available. These
would be the windows to the world of knowledge for our villages and also to
reap the benefits of our e-governance, tele-education, tele-medicine,
e-commerce and e-judiciary initiatives. In spite of the all pervasive nature
of computers they would still be far away from being a truly friendly access
device for our villagers. We would need in such cases, a human intermediary
who would act as the village information officer. He will be the extended
eyes and ears of the villager to the world of knowledge. India has
approximately 2.3 lakh Village Panchayats. I visualize the establishment of
village knowledge centres in these Panchayats to empower villagers with
knowledge and to act as nodal centre for knowledge connectivity for
villagers. The knowledge centre from which villagers would access
information through the village information officer can also be used for
collection, digital storage and dissemination of village specific
information pertaining to any relevant information to villagers. This will
provide direct quality employment to over one million villagers who will be
instrumental in promoting higher level of wealth generation in our rural
The schemes discussed so far have the potential to generate approximately a
total of 56 million direct employments during the next 5 years. This does
not include other employment avenues in the government and the private
sector. Together creating 76 million jobs in the next five years looks
feasible if only we take up each of the above schemes in mission mode.
Integrated Action for People
Dear Citizens, I would like to give ten suggestions on the eve of this
Republic Day, the role of different constituents of our society in
implementing various programmes leading to creation of employment
opportunities and wealth generation:
The education system should proactively build entrepreneurial and vocational
capacities in students. When they come out of educational institutions, they
should have the confidence to start small enterprises and also possess the
skill to do it. Above all the education system has to impart the spirit that
"we can do it".
Rural development has to be a mission mode operation through the PURA
programme, which will enable the provision of maximum benefit to
villagers in a cost effective way.
Banks have to provide, hassle free loans to rural enterprises and those who
have creative ideas. Banks have to assist them with venture
capital. Existing agriculture and agro processing credits have to be
increased so that agriculture communities are empowered for enhancing
the productivity of agricultural produce, food processing and marketing.
The Tsunami has caused severe damage to our coastal regions and islands. Our
fishermen and others living in these areas have lost their dwellings and
livelihood. While planning the reconstruction of homes it is important to
take the task as an integrated PURA complex for promoting the prosperity of
the coastal region. This can include infrastructure for fish storage and
chilling plants, sea food processing and marketing centres, boat and fishing
net maintenance centres, schools, hospitals, water sources and other small
scale industrial units.
In our country we have experiences in certain government departments in the
field of defence, space, nuclear, agriculture and metro railway
in executing mission mode projects, which has resulted in the empowerment of
the programme and removal of normal administrative delays through an
empowered management structure. Major programmes of the country should use
this mission mode management for employment generation schemes.
Since broadband fiber connectivity has reached beyond the block level in
districts and our satellite communication density has also increased this is
the time for all our Information Technology, R&D and ICT industrial
establishments to reach out to rural areas. The e-governance GRID should be
established between the State Governments and the Central Governments with
the National ID as the primary database, linking all parts of the country
for providing Government to Government, Government to Citizen Access and
extending tele-education, tele-medicine services to people in rural areas.
Small Scale Industries are widespread in our country with tremendous
employment potential. For a dynamic and competitive performance the
technological upgradation of these units is essential in national planning.
The media is indeed a dynamic and a creative system in our democracy and all
the more it is important that media constituents reach out to
six hundred thousand villages of the country and be active partners in rural
development. Artists have a great role to play in societal transformation.
The youth have to create a movement of making their own homes righteous,
make their environment clean and excel in their studies and
The national parliamentary system should become the role model for the
nation; in legislative performance, in clean and progressive
administration and nobility and speedy judiciary.
A new situation is emerging in the national scene in the year 2005. In
Indian history, very rarely we have come across a situation, all at a
time, an ascending economic trajectory, continuously rising foreign exchange
reserves, global recognition of technological competence, emergence of our
540 million youth, both men and women, as a dynamic positive force for
national development, umbilical connectivities of 20 million people of
Indian origin in various parts of the planet and the interest shown by many
developed countries to invest in our engineers and scientists including the
setting up of new R&D centres. This is the time the Nation should launch
series of missions in the five areas i.e. Agriculture and Food Processing,
Education and Healthcare, Information and Communication Technology,
Infrastructure Development and self reliance in critical technologies
leading to transforming India into a developed nation by 2020.
Dear Citizens, let us rededicate ourselves on this occasion of the 56th
Republic Day to build our nation as a nation which provides employment to
all, leading to economic prosperity and a nation of civilisational heritage
with a value system.
May God bless you.
People who elevate the thought, through constant reflection and be steadfast
in their action, will positively achieve, what they originally thought.
- Thirukkural (200 BC) 666