Laying emphasis on agriculture and allied sectors, social sector, infrastructure and e-governance President A P J Abdul Kalam on Tuesday unveiled 10 missions for transforming Bihar into a developed state by year 2015.
In his address to a joint session of the bicameral legislature, Kalam recalled the past glory of the state and asked the lawmakers to draw inspiration from it to usher in a new era of progress and prosperity.
Describing agriculture as the core competence of the state and the first mission for development, Kalam lamented that despite having very good soil, abundant supply of irrigation water and a hardworking population, the sector was performing poorly.
The aim, he said, should be to increase rice production from 5.5 million tonne to 15 million tonne and wheat production from four million tonne to 12 million tonne in four years.
Stating that Bihar should become "the theatre of action for India's second green revolution," the President suggested creation of sugar cooperatives on the lines of Maharashtra who could establish at least 10 sugar mills which can fully utilise the existing 1 crore (10 million) metric tonne of sugarcane being produced.
He also suggested to spread the operations of Bihar state Cooperative Milk Producers Federation (Compfed) to all the 38 districts to enable provision of additional productive self-employment to 7,50,000 families in rural areas in next three to four years.
Stressing the need for a fresh thrust to education, the second mission, Kalam suggested raising the literacy rate of 47.5 per cent to 75 per cent by 2010 and 100 per cent by 2015.
Kalam underlined the importance of maintaining academic calendar and suggested that the human resource development ministry should consider creation of an IIT, an Indian Institute of Science and 10 state-of-the-art development technical institutes for higher education.
Regarding creation of global human resource, the third mission, the President said the state would have around 45 million youth by 2050 and keeping this resource in mind, universities and educational systems in Bihar should create two cadres of personnel:
A global cadre of skilled youth with specific knowledge of special skills; and
Another global cadre of youth with higher education to take up research and leadership roles.
Kalam's fourth mission -- Renaissance-Nalanda international university -- envisaged a university with international partnership with an outlay of Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) whose focus would be the evolution of world of peace and prosperity, devoid of crime, terrorism and war.
"To recapture the past glory in the modern context, in keeping with Buddha's teaching for seeking knowledge in a holistic way by understanding the inter-connectedness of things in life and the universe, it has been proposed to establish a Bodh Gaya Nalanda Indo-Asian institute of learning in partnership with select Asian countries," he said.
Terming healthcare as a vital ingredient for development, Kalam, in his fifth mission, proposed equipping state's primary health centres and hospitals with mobile clinics and suggested that the government start a scheme under which every citizen makes a contribution of rupees three per month and government gives a matching grant.
This will lead to a consolidated health fund of Rs 576 crore (Rs 5.76 billion) per annum for the people of Bihar.
Referring to the devastation caused by recurrent flood, Kalam, in his sixth mission, stressed the need for scientific water management.
He underlined recovering all water bodies from encroachments by using satellite maps, de-silting all village ponds and clearance of inlet and outlet in the Gangetic basin, dredging of rivers and creating check dams so that water can be retained in the drought prone south Bihar.
The President recommended a 500 km-long waterway in south Bihar by connecting the south to north flowing rivers. This, he said, will be apart from providing irrigation facility to over five million acres.
Kalam's seventh mission -- infrastructure development-- proposed converting 35,000 km length of rural roads to all weather road and maintenance of national and state highways to international standards.
He suggested creation of 500 PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) centres in the state for improving physical connectivity through quality roads, electronic connectivity through telecommunication and knowledge connectivity through education and vocational training of farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs
Kalam recommended setting up one nuclear power plant of 1000 MW, apart from large scale use of solar power.
The president suggested making Bihar a tourist destination of the world as his 8th mission keeping in mind the state's rich civilizational heritage. He suggested connecting the Grand Asian road from Singapore to Myanmar to Bodh Gaya through north eastern states' east-west highway.
He also underscored improving air connectivity for boosting the tourism sector, which, he said had the potential for 4 million jobs and revenue earning of $10 million annually.
Kalam's 9th mission envisaged creation of 10 exclusive economic zones depending upon the core competence of the districts in three sectors--knowledge products (information and bio-technology), precision manufacturing (sugar, yarn, silk, leather, sports goods) and agro food processing industries.
For this, he suggested inviting industrialists and entrepreneurs of Bihar origin living in other states and abroad to explore possibilities of investment, fast single window clearance for attracting investments, and provide land, power, water, physical and electronic connectivity to identified zones.
The president's 10th and most important mission constituted providing e-governance coupled with administrative reforms to accelerate the process of socio-economic development.
The president concluded his speech with an appeal to the legislators to be a 'partner in making Bihar an economically prosperous, happy and safe state' and read out from Maharishi Patanjali's Yoga Sutra:
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find in yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents come alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamt yourself to be."
Later, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar thanked the President for his address and assured that the legislators, irrespective of their political differences, would endeavour to make Bihar a developed state by year 2015 and contribute to the development of the country.
Stressing the need for a 'harmonious relationship' between the Bihar government and the Centre, Kumar said he was confident that the state's past glory will be restored in the years to come through hard work of its people.
Earlier, in his welcome address, governor G K Gandhi hailed Kalam as 'representative of the collective awareness of one billion people of India' and expressed the hope that his guidance will help the state achieve its true potential for intellectual, technological and social advancement.
Do you want to discuss stock tips? Do you know a hot one? Join the Stock Market Discussion Group.