Book Review: India 2020

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A must-read for any Indophile, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millenium chalks a detailed blueprint for India to follow if it wants to be counted among the world’s top five economic powers by the year 2020. 

In eight long chapters, the book explains the various issues and hurdles, such as technology, media, and individual responsibility, that India needs to address immediately in order to become an economic superpower. It was written in 1998 by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (before he became India’s president) and co-authored with Y. S. Rajan. 

Starting off by answering the fundamental question “Why do we need a vision?,” Dr. Kalam cites the examples of other developed countries and how they all worked toward a shared goal early on. Using examples from historical events, such as India’s Revolt of 1857, he makes it clear that the freedom India enjoys has to be protected in order for the country to obtain that economic superiority.

Throughout the book, Dr. Kalam stresses the importance of technology and its efficient utilization to extract maximum output. His belief that India’s biggest hurdle – and also its biggest asset – is its huge population is a game changer for this developing nation. It inspired many later Government Development Plans. 

Dr. Kalam’s views on unemployment and its urgent need for attention has since helped form the backbone of several government schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guarantees every Indian 100 days of paid employment annually.

India 2020 makes it clear that India needs to stand up to the world and that economic growth should go hand in hand with a strong military. 

One thing that perplexes Dr. Kalam is the obsession Indians have with foreign products and influences. Unless the country becomes self reliant and develops a sense of national pride and respect, he wrote, we cannot succeed as a united nation.

So did Dr. Kalam’s vision come true? Regardless of your answer, if you love India and you also love numbers, this book is for you. It’s also a must-read for anyone who dreams of leading India one day.