"You have to dream before your dreams can come true." This famous quote of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who himself turned his dream into a reality as a nuclear scientist and has "ignited" many minds with his ideas, is perhaps the most appropriate theme for present day India aspiring to become an economic and knowledge superpower.It is the culmination of the dreams of 1.2 billion people that has led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ideate his plan of making the $2 trillion economy a $20 trillion behemoth within the next two decades, eradicating poverty and making India a knowledge society.
In 1947, when we gained Independence, the biggest challenge in front of us was the security of the nation. It was a huge and a difficult task. And many believed that India would not be able to keep its political integrity intact.
Barely has the Modi government started to find its feet trying to reverse the terrible economic conditions inherited from the UPA II, getting the focus of the world towards India as an investment destination; that an emerging war like situation (should a war breaks out) fears to plunge the country into an unprecedented economic depression. If the spectre of an imminent war looms large, does anyone realise, who will be the most affected - the poor of India.
More than half of India's 1.25 billion people defecate in the open and more than half of the people in the world who defecate in the open live in India.
Circa 4th February 1916. Mahatma Gandhi visited Kashi Vishwanath temple and all along walked through filth. He also spoke at the inauguration of the Banaras Hindu University at the invitation of its founder Madan Mohan Malaviya and because he was not pleased with the experience in the holy city, he said, "Is not this great temple a reflection of our own character?"
A society makes progress only when its people come together in a consultative manner and work collectively to achieve the common goal - a country progresses and brings in peace and prosperity. It is necessary that we create an atmosphere for people to converge and ideate to bring value to the society. This is a very first attribute of a smart city. All over the world, people migrate from rural to urban areas in search of livelihood. Our objective is not only to create jobs but also improve the quality of life.