PrezSpeak | 'Poverty can be wiped out' | india | Hindustan Times
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PrezSpeak | 'Poverty can be wiped out'

Kalam says uplifting 260 million people below poverty line is major challenge.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2006 23:01 IST

Poverty can be eradicated in India by 2020 if proper steps are taken, President APJ Abdul Kalam said on Tuesday.

The population below poverty line in the country was about 50 per cent in 1995, which had come down to nearly 22 per cent on Tuesday.

"By 2020 definitely we can reach zero per cent," he said at the platinum jubilee celebration of City High School in Berhampur which was attended, among others, by about 1,700 students.

The President dwelt on the subject after a student asked him "Is eradication of poverty in the Indian situation a reality or a dream?"

In his speech delivered earlier, Kalam said uplifting 260 million people below the poverty line was a major challenge as they required habitat, food, health care, education and employment.

"Our GDP is growing at the rate of nearly eight per cent per annum. Economists suggest that the economy has to grow at the rate of an additional minimum of two per cent per annum consistently for over a decade," he said.

Transforming the country into a developed nation would require meeting the needs of one billion people for which five areas had been identified where the country had core competency of integrated action.

"These five areas are closely inter-related and if effectively addressed will lead to food, economic, energy and national security and sustainable prosperity," he said.

The five areas are agriculture and food processing, education and health care, infrastructure for all parts of the country (such as reliable and quality electricity, surface and air transport), information and communication technology and self-reliance in strategic sectors, Kalam said.