Former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam has a four-point plan for bringing prosperity to India's billion plus people through free flow of information across agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors.
"While nations are working to improve the lot of people and leapfrog in development, there are forces at work to impede by way of extremism and terrorism," he said while accepting the Hoover Medal, America's most prestigious engineering prize for service to humanity, at a ceremony at Columbia University in New York on Tuesday.
Kalam is the first Asian to receive the honour that has been given annually since 1930 by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
"Society has to be dynamic to make progress and prepare itself for the challenges of the future," Kalam said, recalling former US president Herbert Hoover's belief that a technical solution existed for every social and economic problem.
Sharing his thoughts on "Transforming billion people to prosperity", Kalam presented a plan for rural societal transformation designed for India based on the connectivity model of a partnership between governmental and multiple institutions in the public and private domains.
In this model, four grids bring about the interfaces of three sectors of the economy, he said. While the Knowledge Grid interconnects universities with socio-economic institutions, industries and research and development organisations, the Health Grid joins the healthcare institutions of government, corporates and super-speciality hospitals.
Similarly, the e-Governance Grid interconnects the central and state governments and district and block level offices and the PURA Grid is aimed at Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas.
The solution to two critical problems facing the world, namely continuous depletion of fossil-material-derived, oil, gas and coal reserves and the continuous degradation of environment, could be found in energy independence, Kalam said.
The third important mission for India was the integrated water mission, he said, calling it "the major challenge that will bring peace and prosperity to nation and create sustainable development environment for the nation".
Noting that water is an important requirement for the survival of humanity and promotion of biodiversity and ecology, Kalam said the mission involves harnessing the waters to meet the requirement of drinking, sanitation, irrigation and industry.
For success in all the missions, it is essential to have creative leaders, Kalam said. "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."