On the way from Delhi to Jaunpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh is the dusty town of Badshahpur. Even in this nondescript settlement, people receive money via mobile transfer from family members working in distant cities. There are computer training centres offering diploma courses in Bhojpuri, Hindi and English. Here is an example of India's numerous remote towns that have skipped the stage of basic learning and landed straight into digital literacy as they strive to keep up with the times. In his last book, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, writing with Srijan Pal Singh, draws upon examples ranging from entrepreneurship in places like Badshahpur to a sophisticated missile programme like Agni to show how it can be 'Advantage India' in the final lap of the journey to 2020-the landmark year by which he had envisioned the country could transform into an economic power. How can the new initiatives-such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat, smart cities and skill development for the youth-be used to unleash the country's vast potential? Advantage India offers the answer-a movement driven by every home and school to educate the new generation and give a fresh meaning to citizenship.
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AVUL PAKIR JAINULABDEEN ABDUL KALAM was the eleventh President of India, from 2002 to 2007. He was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and the nation's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. Born in 1931 in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr Kalam studied aeronautical engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology. He played a key role in the development of India's first satellite launch vehicle, the SLV-3; in the building and operationalization of India's strategic missile systems; and in the 1998 nuclear tests. As an elder statesman, he was in the public eye for his role in offering counsel, reaching out to people and building bridges across religious and social divides. Dr Kalam's focus was ever on transforming India into a developed nation by 2020 and to this end he continued to travel across the country for his teaching assignments at IITs and IIMs, to address conferences and to meet students and people from all walks of life. He passed away at one such lecture he had gone to deliver at Shillong on 27 July 2015. His message and influence continues to resonate with people across the country, and in all walks of life. SRIJAN PAL SINGH is a gold medallist MBA holder from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and has worked with the Boston Consulting Group. He is a social entrepreneur who has been involved in studying and evolving sustainable development systems with a thrust on rural areas. From 2009-15, he also worked as an advisor and officer on special duty to Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on promoting the concepts of energy independence and Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), and co-authored with him two books: Target 3 Billion (2011) and Reignited (2015). He was named as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow by the St Gallen Leadership Symposium in Switzerland in 2014. He has also co-authored Smart and Human (2015) with G.R.K. Reddy.
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