PURA: Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas

President Kalam discussing “India 2020” during the summit.

One of the main components of Kalam’s “India 2020″ vision is “PURA: Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas.”

As more than two-thirds of India’s one-billion population live in rural areas, the president believes the country can only be transformed into a “developed” nation if those people are properly empowered. Currently, President Kalam says, rural India suffers from a lack of connectivity: physical connectivity (poor and insufficent roads), electronic conenctivity (unreliable and insufficient communications networks) and knowledge connectivity (lack of professional institutions and vocational training centres). He says that only when these three difficiencies are corrected will economic connectivity take place.

To facilitate rural India’s four-fold reconnection, the President has come up with a model for building and renovating rural communities called PURA (“providing urban amenities in rural areas”). The President’s habitat design aims at improving the quality of life in rural places and, at the same time, decongesting urban areas. “Instead of village population coming to urban areas,” he says, “the reverse phenomenon has to take place.”

According to President Kalam’s plan, the PURA communities must run as economically viable businesses financed and managed by entrepreneurs, local people and small-scale industrialists, as they involve education, health, power-generation, transport and management. “Government’s support should be in the form of empowering such management agencies, providing initial economic support and finding the right type of management structure and leaders to manage and maintain.”