book-review-april-2015Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Y.S. Rajan’s new book ‘Beyond 2020: A Vision for Tomorrow’s India’ is a blueprint for India’s future development. The authors raise several questions about India’s development and focus on India’s future progress in the backdrop of the existing facts and figures

Author: A.P. J. Abdul Kalam and Y.S. Rajan
Publishing House: Penguin group
Cost: 399 Indian Rupees
Pages: 281

Beyond 2020 has 15 chapters with extensive details on how to take the nation from its present condition to a future of progress by pushing through missions on industries, services and agriculture. Each chapter of the book is accompanied by a number of graphs and statistics to support the data.
The authors feel that the crying need of the country is not a shortage of plans but arriving at the correct methodologies to implement the plans and figuring out how to reach the benefits to the people for whom the plans are intended. The book defines roles and actions of various people such as the panchayat leaders, members of the legislative assemblies, members of Parliament, ministers, the judiciary, media, the corporate sector, the Opposition, regulatory bodies, opinion makers, activists and intellectuals, students and youth, agriculturists, doctors and health professionals.
The initial chapters of the book highlight the great achievement for a country as large as India to have successfully eradicated polio. But at the same time, it also mentions that to maintain a polio-free status is an equally challenging task. The book then progresses to spell that out in many ways. India’s growth story in the 21st century has been hamstrung by missed opportunities and slowdowns in project execution. But it has also been marked by new opportunities and emerging technologies that make faster and more inclusive growth viable. The eminent scientists believe that lessons must be learnt from missed opportunities in order to move towards a brighter future. A lot of emphasis in the book is laid on improving education, job creation, emerging technologies, promoting biodiversity, waste management and ensuring national security. A renewed policy focus is needed for agriculture, manufacturing, mining, the chemicals industry, health care and infrastructure to invigorate these sectors and boost economic growth, argue Kalam and Rajan.
Over the last 67 years, successive governments have been committed to achieving the national goal of universal education and have steadily increased the budgetary allocation for education. However, 35 per cent of our adult population is yet to achieve the literate status. ‘Education for every Indian,’ one of the many chapters in the book rightly throws light on the inequality of access to educational resources in the country. In 1998, Dr Kalam and Y.S. Rajan published the now iconic India 2020, a vision document for the new millennium that charted how India could become one of the top five economic powers in the world by 2020. Sixteen years later, as the year 2020 approaches, the authors came out with Beyond 2020 , another book to take stock of how much India has achieved by now and what lies ahead.
The book successfully points out the problem areas in the path of the country’s development such as inadequate infrastructure, illiteracy, unhappy conditions of roads, railways, ports, etc and also provides a few suggestions to improve the same. The book assures that India can still make it to the list of developed nations within a decade. But for that transformation to take place, there are a number of reforms that need to be carried out. And the important thing to remember is that every Indian has a role to play as he or she looks to build an India beyond 2020.
The book underlines that the 21st century will be India’s if everyone works hard with a constant commitment and endeavour to better his or her own self and transform India into the country of dreams. The book ends on a very positive note, charting out the mission in a four-point action plan for the nation which includes making ample water available for both urban areas and villages, creating an earning capacity for every family, working towards sustainable economic prosperity and possessing great values.