Capital Foundation Annual Lecture, 05 December 2011, Delhi
“Empowering 3 Billion”

“Before you do anything, stop and recall the face of
the poorest most helpless destitute person
you have seen and ask yourself,
“Is what I am about to do going to help him?”
…Mahatma Gandhi”

I am delighted to give the capital foundation annual lecture and participate in the capital foundation award ceremony in this beautiful environment, particularly on the occasion of the 97th birthday of Justice Shri VR Krishna Iyer. I have great respect for Justice Krishna Iyer for his unique services in multiple fields judiciary, political system, social system and above all – human upliftment actions. I congratulate General J.J. Singh for getting the capital foundation national award, Shri Kapil Sibal and Shri Salman Khurshid for getting the Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer Award, Shri Navin Jindal, and Dr. Arun Mohan for getting the Justice P.N. Bhagwati award and the other award winners. The Capital Foundation Society has a mission of bringing together personalities of thought and learning to deliberate and articulate public opinion on vital issues. It promotes free flow of information and ideas from diverse sources leading to decision making. My greetings to all the participants of this function. Let me share few thoughts in the Capital Foundation annual lecture with the title “Empowering 3 Billion”. The focus of my discussion will be towards, how to empower nearly half the population of the world who need capacity building to perform and lead a good life. In India itself we have 400 million people who need be lifted up towards a better life. I suggest that this important audience may carefully study the suggestions and transform into action in whatever role you are performing.

Let us first study the global challenges which are faced by the nations of the world.

Global Challenges
Today, the challenges of the world at many places, are poverty, illiteracy, safe drinking water, clean and green energy, equitable distribution of resources, quality education with values for all, overcoming societal imbalances, curing diseases, quality healthcare for all and good living conditions.

Individual nations are working to find a solution to these challenges. However we are clearly witnessing that challenges faced by nations are not only of their making or the solutions amenable only by the individual nations. There are many international dimensions for the cause and solutions. Hence working for solutions is a collective responsibility of global community. Also when nations start working on the common enemies of illiteracy, poor health care etc, their tendency to focus on national, regional and global peace with better mutual trust is enabled. The global challenges take various manifestations based on the local dynamics which are interconnected on various factors.

Let us look at the dynamics of these manifestations.

Dynamics of Global manifestations
The world today is integrally connected through four rapid connectivities. They are environment, people, economy and ideas. We all know that global warming and climate change are no longer problems of individual nations, they are planetary problems. In the present time, a single product may be made out of components sourced from multiple continents and provide services to markets far off from their place of origin. We also saw, how the economic turbulence originating in any part of the globe has its dynamics in the whole world. The world today is concerned about the growing inflationary pressures, recessions and potential fall in growth rates, affecting valuable efforts on development. We witnessed how a volcanic eruption in an island country brought the entire airline industry and more than 5000 commercial flights to a halt and the recent earthquake followed by tsunami has changed the concept of safety and security of an island nation. At the same time, advances in transportation have progressively made movement of people across nations and regions more feasible. This has led to the globalization of expertise and talents which can flow seamlessly from one nation to another. This also has led to the globalization of human diseases, the most recent instance being of different kinds of flu which rapidly spread across the globe and threatened the entire human kind. Similarly, ideas and innovations are no longer geographically or politically confined. An invention made today somewhere takes no time to find its market thousand of miles away. The expansion of information and communication technology and the convergence of technological tools are structuring new world knowledge, where problems of one part of the world can be solved by multiple experts based at different points of the globe. Seamless flow of information and people also means that local or regional issues will invariably gain global prominence and unaddressed problems including poverty can mutate rapidly into multiple conflicts internationally and global terrorism which we are already witnessing.

This flow of ideas has also led to increasing importance of global human rights and propagation of the idea of democracy. Let me recall an experience.

When I was travelling in an aircraft in USA, I was told that much of its controls where software driven and most probably developed in India. When I presented my credit card, I was told that it was being processed in the backend server located in Mauritius. When I walked into a multinational software company in Bangalore, I was fascinated to find that it truly presented a multicultural environment. A software developer from China, working under a project leader from Korea, working with a software engineer from India and a hardware architect from the US and the communication expert from Germany, were all working together to solve the banking problem in Australia.

When I see all of them working together like one family forgetting about the culture from which they came or the language they speak, I feel that the only hope for such borderless interaction to continue is to inculcate the spirit of “borderlessness” in every human activity on our planet Earth.
I had detailed discussions in many educational institutions across the world and with many citizens in India and abroad from multiple organizations, and disciplines. The profile was evolved particularly after discussions with my research students in Gatton College of Business and Economics, Lexington and IIM Ahmedabad. I am happy to present to you the distinctive profile for the Nations of the World in 2030:
Distinctive profile for the Nations of the World in 2030
Let me present to you these visualizations.

  1. A world of nations where the divide between rural and urban, rich and the poor, developed and developing has narrowed down.
  2. A world of nations where there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
  3. A world where core competencies of each nation are identified. Missions synergizing the core competencies of different nations lead to economic advantage and faster development for all the societies.
  4. A world of nations where all the students of all societies are imparted education with value system.
  5. A world of nations where affordable quality health care is available to all.
  6. A world of nations where the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption free.
  7. A world of nations where crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated.
  8. A world in which every nation is able to give a clean green environment to all its citizens.
  9. A world that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
  10. A world of nations with creative leadership who ensure effective mechanisms to resolve conflicts between nations and societies in a timely manner keeping overall peace and prosperity of the world as a goal.

Two possible solutions
There are two possible solutions for achieving this vision 2030. The first solution seems to be the conventional approach which has been followed so far across the world. It starts with working for national prosperity and peace within the local boundaries and perspectives, hoping that over a long run it would percolate into regional prosperity and peace, ultimately may lead to prosperity and peace at the global level. The collective experience across the world highlights that this solution has not yielded the desired results in the past, and with a globalizing world, its efficacy in bringing global prosperity and peace in the future is uncertain.

The second solution would be, looking from the global prosperity and peace as the overall objective of the world, thereby percolating to achieve regional prosperity and peace which will ultimately ensure the national prosperity and peace of the participating nations. It is all about making a study with reference to global context and finding, how every nation can align towards the global missions. It has also to be remembered that national missions inspire the citizens; this spirit has to be directed towards globally important missions.

Out of box ideas needed to meet the distinctive profile of nations of the world 2030
Today, let me discuss one of the visions in detail with all of you which is on how to reduce the rural and urban divide across the world. Friends, more than 3 Billion people live in the rural regions, and empowerment of these 3 Billion which is my topic today and will be the basis of our discussion further. The empowerment of rural regions of the world is critically important from the perspective of inclusive development, sustained peace and shared prosperity of the world. The untapped potential rural population and talent will be great treasure. Even the most developed nations in the world witness the rural urban divide. For instance, when I was in Kentucky last year, I witnessed how the rural Eastern Kentucky is still in need for societal and economic development. Earlier this year, when I visited Australia, I came across many cases where the government and other institutions were working towards the welfare of the native population of the region who are still backward. Of course, when it comes to the developing and underdeveloped world, the majority of the population lives in these rural areas, which necessitates a special focus on them.

In the absence of concrete action, driven by the need of education, healthcare and better income, the rural population is migrating to urban areas with a hope to get a better chance to opportunities, often meeting with despair. This further contributes to urban poverty as well leading to stresses and societal turbulence.
The rural areas of the world, occupy a position where there are unharnessed resources and potential, they have youth and traditional skills. They have to be nurtured into value adding enterprises leading to an environment of empowerment. How can such a mission of Empowering 3 Billion be realized? It would indeed require out of the box thinking and ideas previously un-conceived. We would need to evolve sustainable development systems which bring in sustainability and empowerment together and deliver in an entrepreneurial manner.

PURA and PURA Activated
The need of the hour is the evolution of sustainable systems which act as “enablers” and bring inclusive growth and integrated development to the nations of the world.

One such sustainable development system is the mission of Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) through creation of three connectivities namely physical, electronic, knowledge leading to economic connectivity.

PURA means that:

  1. The villages must be connected within themselves and with main towns and metros through by good roads and wherever needed by railway lines. They must have other infrastructure like schools, colleges, hospitals and amenities for the local population and the visitors. This is physical connectivity.
  2. In the emerging knowledge era, the native knowledge has to be preserved and enhanced with latest tools of technology, training and research. The villages have to have access to good education from best teachers wherever they are, must have the benefit of good medical treatment, and must have latest information on their pursuits like agriculture, fishery, horticulture and food processing. That means they have to have electronic connectivity.
  3. Once the Physical and Electronic connectivity are enabled, the knowledge connectivity is enabled. That can facilitate the ability increase the productivity, the utilization of spare time, awareness of health welfare, ensuring a market for products, increasing quality conscience, interacting with partners, getting the best equipment, increasing transparency and so in general knowledge connectivity.
  4. 4. Once the three connectivities viz Physical, Electronic and knowledge connectivity are ensured, they facilitate earning capacity leading to economic connectivity. When we Provide Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), we can lead to upliftment of rural areas, we can attract investors, we can introduce effectively useful systems like Rural BPOs, Micro Finance and small-scale industries.

The number of PURA for the whole of India is estimated to be 7000 covering 600,000 villages where 750 million people live. Similarly, about 30,000 PURA Complexes would be required to convert the 3 billion rural population of the world into a vibrant economic zone and bringing Sustainable Development to rural areas. There are operational PURAs in India initiated by many educational, healthcare institutions, industry and other institutions. Government of India is already moving ahead with the implementation of PURA on the national scale across several districts of India.

Let me present a platform which is a unique enterprise driven model of sustainable welfare model through the idea of a PURA Activated. The essence of PURA Activated is the belief that PURA enterprises of next generation, need to think of its relationship workforce as beyond being the provider of mere livelihood.

The PURA Activated envisages in the overall, integrated development of the rural population in the PURA Complex. Moreover, it has the vision of sustainable socio-business models which are as a vertically integrated network of multiple entrepreneurs, who share synergies and provide for value addition to each other, leading to overall benefit of all the stakeholders.

  1. Resource Entrepreneurs: They will focus on the economic realization of the natural, traditional and human resources with the help of customized technology and modern management for enhancing the income level for every household. They would be achieving the critical role of moving resources up the value chain, by application of best practices and matching product to market. Their performance will be reflected in the overall growth of the GDP of the rural complex.
  2. Social Entrepreneurs: The next category of entrepreneurs, will work closely with the resource entrepreneurs. They would focus on improving the human development index, in terms of education, healthcare and improvement of standards of living by provision of amenities and equity across various diversities. These entrepreneurs will hence promote the realization purchasing power into better life and hence more skilled workforce in the area. Their performance will be objectively reflected in the enhanced literacy levels, reduced IMR/MMR/sickness, enhanced nutrition, access to good habitation, sanitation, clean drinking water and quality energy. It will also lead to environmental consciousness and reduction and in societal conflicts.

The entrepreneurs of PURA Activated, would work in close synchronization and integration with the help of local PURA champions – who may be institutions or organizations of repute. They will be partners with the government, local administration and Panchayati Raj (village governance institutions). The enterprise network of PURA Activated has to be evolved with the technical collaboration from a multi-dimensional array of technological and managerial institutions. Similarly, enterprises from different parts of the world can be partners to the PURA Activated by acting as equity investors, exploring and facilitating market linkages and providing a technological platform the best practices and innovative solutions to production challenges can strengthen the socio-economic rural complexes. In this way, enterprises, academic institutions and business units from across the world can share their core-competencies to harness the resources of untapped rural and sub-urban regions and also lead to human development. Such collaborative platforms for 600,000 villages covering 750 million citizens in India alone have over $ 200 billion market in India, which can harness an agrarian economy leading to mutual benefits. With about the 3 billion people living in rural areas this global development system can be expanded in all the countries. I am putting forward this model to this community of innovators in business, engineering, medicine and humanities, who share a global concern and endowed with the proven world class knowledge, so that you all can evolve this idea and be a partner to empower three billion people, realize the global vision 2030 and bring global prosperity, happiness and peace.

The global vision 2030 envisages the realization of green clean environment without pollution, having prosperity without poverty, peace without fear of war and a happy place to live for all citizens of the nations of the world. What is needed the participation of multiple nations, multiple institutions and people from across the globe towards common objectives. Members of capital foundation and the award winners who are holding very important position in the government and non government organizations can definitely become a significant partner in propagating the thoughts and actions leading towards the realization of the Global Vision 2030.

Conclusion: Qualities of Leadership
Friends, I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Space Program of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), AGNI program of DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in all these three areas. I would like to convey to you, what I have learnt on leadership from these three programmes.

  1. Leader must have a vision.
  2. Leader must have a passion to accomplish the mission.
  3. Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path.
  4. Leader must know how to manage a success and failure.
  5. Leader must have courage to take decision.
  6. Leader should have Nobility in management.
  7. Every action of the leader should be transparent.
  8. Leader should work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

For the success of programme Vision 2030, it is essential to have creative leaders. Creative leadership means exercising the vision to change the traditional role from the commander to the coach, manager to mentor, from director to delegator and from one who demands respect to one who facilitates self-respect. For enhancing enterprise value, we need the large number of creative leaders.

At this stage let me recall Maharishi Patanjali’s message given 2500 years ago, said:
“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 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.”

Once again let me congratulate all the award winners’ capital foundation award winners. My greetings and best wishes to all the members for success in their mission of promoting excellence in public life.

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