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Kalam exhorts industrialists to transform villages

A correspondent in Mumbai | July 06, 2003 18:17 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Sunday exhorted Indian entrepreneurs to come together to help the nation's rural areas transform into vibrant pockets of economic development and prosperity.

The President was delivering the Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Lecture, 'Growth is life,' in Mumbai on the first death anniversary of the patriarch of the Reliance group.

Kalam said that industrialists could help in developing villages into growth hubs by providing funds for 'physical, electronic, knowledge and economic connectivity.'

This, he said, would given an impetus to rural India and provide it with the scope to harness growth, thereby changing the lives of over 260 million people who subsist below the poverty line.

President A P J Abdul KalamDhirubhai's dream of making India an economic superpower could then be fulfilled, he said, and urged an impressive gathering of the stars of corporate India's firmament to 'imbibe the indomitable spirit, the vision, and the mission of Dhirubhai Ambani.'

He showered praise on the late Dhirubhai Ambani and said he was a creative and bold leader. "It was Dhirubhai's indomitable spirit, dedication to his aim, self-belief and determination of effort in conquering all obstacles to achieve his goals that helped in making significant changes in his own town and in India," he said.

Kalam said unless the villages are developed, the states cannot flourish, and without this the nation could not embark on to the path to prosperity.

The President said that the need of the hour was to make India a prosperous, strong and developed nation, with emphasis on agriculture, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and self-sufficiency in critical technology as envisaged by 'Vision 2020,' the blueprint for the nation's growth developed by India's policymakers and planners.

Kalam said the media could play a dominant role in helping fulfil Vision 2020, too.

A host of politicians, industrialists, and figures from India's who's who attended the 1st Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Lecture at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan played a different role at the function: that of the master of ceremony. He introduced the distinguished speakers to the gathering.

Speakers who paid rich tributes to Dhirubhai Ambani included Divestment Minister Arun Shourie, HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha and former finance minister Manmohan Singh, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, and Samajwadi Party president and former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani delivered the welcome address, while his younger brother -- Anil, who is the vice chairman of the group -- presented the vote of thanks.

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