Atal on his missions! Five visionary steps of Atal Bihari Vajpayee that are timeless
1924-2018. The long-lived life of a politician with great missions and greater impacts. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India and one of the BJP's most veteran leaders, passed away on Thursday. True leaders go beyond ideological differences and earn people's affection nevertheless. Vajpayee was surely one. He was a leader who put party lines behind aside to work towards the progress of the nation. Here's a quick look at the five most significant steps undertaken by his governance that continue to hold relevance even today.
A country's foundation is laid by literacy. Primary education also referred to as elementary education worldwide, for children of 6-14 years, was made free of cost in India by Vajpayee's Government. In 2002, he introduced the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan or SSA which runs till date and received a funding of Rs 21,000 cr from the central Government in 2010. In 2010 came the Right to Education Act which further eased the legal implication of SSA.
In the early '60s when Vajpayee was a member of Bharatiya Jana Sangh party (a political party that existed from 1951 to 1977 and originated from RSS), China conducted its very first nuclear test. India was still overcoming the humiliation of defeat post the 1962 Indo-China war. Vajpayee vehemently emphasised on the necessity of India's own atomic power. In 1974, when the Indira Gandhi Government carried out a nuclear test with the code name of Smiling Buddha, they were met with warm appreciation from Jana Sangha party, then an opposition at the centre. Vajpayee stood by his mission. In 1998, in a week, India carried out five nuclear tests in one week in an operation known as Pokhran II. "We have the capacity for a big bomb now. Ours will never be weapons of aggression," he was quoted saying.
The Chandrayan-I project too was passed by Vajpayee. "Our country is now ready to fly high in the field of science. I am pleased to announce that India will send her own spacecraft to the moon by 2008. It is being named Chandrayaan," he said, in his Independence Day speech on 15th August 2003. It remains a historical landmark in India's space research and study. On 8th November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe was installed in the looner orbit. On 14th November, India became the fourth nation in the world to place its flag on the moon.
On February 19, 1999, with a green signal from Vajpayee, the historical Delhi-Lahore bus service was inaugurated. On its inaugural day, he travelled to Lahore by that bus to attend a summit and was received by Nawaz Sharif (then Prime Minister of Pakistan) at Wagah Border.
On 24th December 1999, a group of five hijackers captured an Indian Airlines flight (IC 814) and flew it to Afganistan, which was under the rule of the Taliban. Their demand was to free a few terrorists who were held in India. The passengers were under hostage for seven days. Finally, Vajpayee government let go of three militants in order to bring its citizens back safe.
No mortal is to be here forever. But the legacy remains. For Atal Bihari Vajpayee, not only will it remain but will keep inspiring many.