President of India A P J Abdul Kalam has called upon educational institutions in the country, especially those in rural areas, to participate in rural development by replicating the Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) model.
The President set a mission for the academic and scientific community to set up 100 PURAs by January 2007, the next session of the Indian Science Congress. In the PURA model, an academic institution is at the centre that provides electronic and knowledge connectivity to a cluster of villages, thereby leading to economic connectivity. Citing the example of three PURAs set up in different states, like the women's engineering college at Vallam in Tamil Nadu, a medical institute at Loni in Maharashtra and a research institute at Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh, the President in all the three operational PURAs, technology and scientific methods of working play a very important role. The number of such PURA clusters required was 7,000. Science and technology focus is required for making the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) sustainable and remunerative to the 700 million people of the country living in 6,00,000 villages.
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