The honourable President of
India A P J Abdul Kalam's address at the India Today Conclave, New
Delhi March 2, 2003.
When the India Today Conclave
posed the question "India Tomorrow 2003: Global Giant or Pygmy?", I
recalled an event of meeting the students of Nagaland during my recent
visit. A 5th class boy asked,
WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN A HAPPY, PROSPEROUS, PEACEFUL AND SAFE INDIA.
Tell me, what will you do Mr. President? Also tell me what I should
do for that?".
During my interactions with school children of the 17 States and 3
Union Territories which I have visited, a series of similar questions
My visit included North East
that is full of bio diversity, the desert region in the West, the
southern states surrounded by the beautiful seas, and other
economically stronger and also not so stronger states with varied
cultures. Also I have studied various reports on the performance of
the states and had discussions.
Everywhere, the vision of
'developed' India reverberated, particularly
among the young who projected their aspirations to live in
a happy, prosperous and peaceful India.
Hence, the title of my address emerged from the urge of the boy from
Nagaland. It may also answer India Today Conclave's
Our Prime Minister, in his
Independence Day address, on 15th August 2002, from the Red Fort,
declared that India will become a Developed
Nation by 2020.
India has entered into 10th
Five Year Plan with a focus of all round development. The National
Development Council has since approved economic growth rate of 8%. The
10th plan is a very vital period as it has to lay foundation for this
journey of transformation by initiating mission projects that will
bring economic strength to the nation.
It is equally important to
note that a task team has been formed by the Government for networking
of rivers to transfer water from surplus basins to areas of deficit.
This river networking will meet the requirements of drinking water,
irrigation, navigation, power generation, creation of employment
opportunities and above all enhancement of environment leading to
Since my government has
already taking up transforming India into a Developed Nation by 2020,
I have found relevance between the Vision-2020 documents,
Child's Question and the India Today Conclave's thought
Our Civilisational Heritage
I have also looked at the
thought process in our country. Sometimes I feel, we as a nation of
billion people thinking like nation of million people.
Why is it so?
Whereas Indians are natural born leaders in critical situations and
challenging environments for the reason they live in a society of
multi religions and multi ethnical groups. I consider no other nation
like India, has got the civilisational heritage to live near peaceful
life. Indian minds were capable of absorbing the best of cultures from
the successive invasions. We have also evolved the great qualities of
leadership to manage the nation of billion people with various
dimensions in every aspect of life. Now we should not allow any
religion or any individual fanaticism to endanger our nation. Because,
nation is very important compared to any individual or party or
Economic Strength & Peace
Even the rich and developed
nations, in spite of their wealth and military strength, are afraid of
virtual enemies and they live with fear complex.
In this situation,
economic strength alone has no meaning. Economic prosperity and
military strength alone do not bring peace to any nation, as we see
from dynamics of the world. In such a situation it is also very
important to transform our religious forces into spiritual forces.
Evolution of spiritual forces
in addition to economic prosperity and military strength will bring
happiness, peace and prosperity.
I would like to share with
you, the issues of emerging India's economic and needed technology
growth, integrated actions for developed India, core competence in
information and communication technology, bio-technology, space
technology and a model for providing urban amenities in rural areas.
We got freedom in 1947, that
was the result of first vision for the nation.
This vision created best of
leaders in many fields like politics, philosophy, judiciary, science &
technology and industry. In many aspects of life, improvement in
literacy, agricultural products, strategic areas, certain small and
large-scale industries took place.
Now more than fifty years have
gone by and we are called as one of the hundreds of developing
countries, in a distinct way a separation from G-8 countries.
We have many challenges.
Nearly 260 million people who
are below the poverty line have to join the mainstream of a good life.
100% literacy, health for all, multiple industrial and agricultural
productivity and life style with value system has to emerge. Hence we
need the second vision for the nation to become developed.
India through Ages
India had its glory during
early civilization and agricultural age. Successive invasions and
foreign rules and rise in population brought down India's prosperity
to a lower level.
India also could not
participate in the Industrial revolution which led the western
countries to take a lead, increasing the gap between the west and
India. India went through famine, starvation in many parts and
national calamities and looked for ships to come to our ports with
wheat from western countries.
After Independence, India
looked forward in development through Five Year Plans. The green
revolution and the technology growth enabled India to prosper with
self sufficiency in food and achievement in many technological
frontiers particularly during the last two decades.
A major transformation came
during the information age where India established its position with
its strong core competence in Information Technology. Today India is
in the knowledge age which provides an opportunity to become a
developed nation with strong economy.
Economic Growth in
During the last century, the
world has undergone a change from agriculture society, where manual
labour was the critical factor, to industrial society where the
management of technology, capital and labour provided the competitive
Then the information era was
born in the last decade, where connectivity and software products are
driving the economy of a few nations.
the 21st century, a new society is emerging where knowledge is the
primary production resource instead of capital and labour. Efficient
utilisation of this existing knowledge can create comprehensive wealth
of the nation and also improve the quality of life - in the form of
better health, education, infrastructure and other social indicators.
Ability to create and maintain the knowledge infrastructure, develop
knowledge workers and enhance their productivity through creation,
growth and exploitation of new knowledge will be the key factors in
deciding the prosperity of this Knowledge Society.
Whether a nation has arrived at a stage of knowledge society is judged
by the way the country effectively deals with knowledge creation and
knowledge deployment in all sectors like IT, Industries, Agriculture,
Health Care etc.,
Changes in employment,
agriculture, Industry and Service - Knowledge Industries
In 1980, agriculture areas
employed in parts or in full 76% of people of the country and it
reduced to 65% in 1994 and expected to further fall to 60% of people
in agriculture by 2012.
Whereas, the demand of agricultural products
will double in quantity, productivity using technology and post
harvest management will have to compensate the manpower reduction in
farming and agricultural products sector.
In the case of industry, in
1980, 13% of the population was employed in small scale and large
scale industries. The trend continued during 1994. However, it has to
increase in 2010, as the GDP growth with high technology in the
situation of opening up of the economy under WTO regime.
The pattern of employment will
take a new shape.
Service with knowledge industry component from 11%
employability in 1980 has increased to 20% in 1994. And further it
will increase to 54% in 2012 in view of infrastructure, maintenance
areas, financial sector, IT sector and entertainment demands. This big
change will demand in all areas more
trained skilled human
power and technology
Our industrialists, commercial
chiefs and technologists may have to get ready for such transformation
in agriculture, industries and service - knowledge industries for
which human manpower with knowledge and skills has to be evolved in a
And also evolution of
knowledge management has been presented linking vision for the nation.
Technology in India
India after its independence
was determined to move ahead with planned policies for Science &
Now, India is very near to self-sufficiency in food.
improvements in the health sector have eliminated a few contagious
diseases. There is an increase in life expectancy.
industries provide high percentage of National GDP - a vast change in
1990s compared to 1950s.
Today, India can design, develop and launch
world class communication and remote sensing satellites. The nuclear
establishments have reached the capability of building nuclear power
stations, nuclear medicine and nuclear irradiation of agricultural
seeds for growth in agricultural production. Today India has become a
Nuclear Weapon State.
Defence Research had led to design, development
and production of strategic and cruise missile systems, sonars, under
water weapons, light combat aircraft, tanks, electronic warfare
systems and various armours.
Also we have seen
growth in the Information Technology;
the country is progressing in hardware and software export business of
more than 10 billion dollars even though there are low ebbs in the
last few years. India yet is a developing country.
Next 50 years in Human Life
People's life will be enriched
by IT driven knowledge products and systems, bio technology and space
As a Future Revolution, it is
predicted that the humanity will see human habitat in one of the
planets and space solar power radiating to earth for electric power.
Human life will be
further extended for the reasons of genomic & biotechnology research
The Nano technology will enter into human usage like the control
systems of various transporting systems, medical technology equipments
and aerospace systems.
ICT as a Main GDP
Contributor - Scope in India
In most developed nations ICT
contributes directly to around 7 to 8% of their GDP.
It is expected
that by 2010 in these countries ICT will account for 25% of the GDP
either directly (by way of sale of hardware and software) or
indirectly (being an integral part of e-governance, connectivity for
improved productivity, in industries and even in daily life for
improved efficiency and transparency).
In India ICT today accounts for
nearly 2% of GDP. To be a developed nation, we should enhance this
ICT - India's Core
Our core competencies that can
be exploited in addition to what has been planned in 1998 include
Information Security, Scientific Software development, e-governance
that can spearhead a strong Domestic market, Entertainment, Education,
Hardware and chip design and Wireless.
If we exploit these areas of
our core competency we can create Indian MNCs and could aim at a
target of 150 billion dollars by the year 2010. Our Industry is
capable of delivering the right goods every time and all the time.
Bio-diversity : a core
competence of India
India is rich in herbs, germ
plasma and micro organisms.
countries are importing these bio-resources in the raw forms and add
value to them and export as special seeds, bio-materials to developing
countries including India. They also fully protect patents of these
products. Instead of allowing export of such resources and importing
value added products at high cost, India must add its own technology
for conversion of such resources to value added products for use in
domestic requirement and also for export.
Particularly, in the herbal
area there are potential applications for developing multiple products
for nutrition, prevention and cure of certain diseases. Of the global
herbal product market of 61 billion dollars, China has a share of
around 3 billion dollars, whereas India's share is not even 100
Hence, there is tremendous
opportunity for higher market share. India has similar potential for
promoting floriculture and aquaculture in a big way.
Space technology can provide
solutions to the problems of man and society.
Space technology will enable
e-education, integrated healthcare schemes and connectivity to
community activities for sustainable economic development. This will
lead to employment generation, higher literacy, availability of clean
energy and wealth generation for the welfare of the society with
improved quality of life.
Integrated action for
In order to realize developed
India by 2020, five key areas have been identified for an integrated
(1) Agriculture and food
processing - with a target of 360 million tons per annum of food and
agricultural products. Other areas of agriculture and agro food
processing would bring food security and prosperity to rural people
and speed up the economic growth;
(2) Education and
Healthcare - aiming to increase the employment potential leading to
social security and population control;
(3) Infrastructure development
including reliable and quality electric power for all parts of the
country, which is vital for all the core sectors;
(4) Information and
Communication Technology - This is one of our core competencies,
promoting education in remote areas and creating massive employment
and national wealth through export earning;
(5) Critical technologies and
strategic industries - the progress in nuclear, space and defence
technologies will provide sustained growth and self-reliance for the
These five areas are closely
inter-related and lead to national, food and economic security. A
strong partnership among the R&D, academy, industry, business and the
community as a whole with the Government departments and agencies will
be essential to accomplish the vision.
Networking of rivers
Networking of rivers is
essential for flood and drought control, for availability of drinking
water to all regions, for goods navigation and transportation and for
increased power generation and cultivation land.
This mission will
also provide employment opportunities to the rural population. Science
and technology can surely help in executing such mission.
sensing to survey and evolve optimum water routes, environmental
mapping and afforestation requirements, and continuous monitoring of
the networked water flow through all seasons and at all times may
require a dedicated satellite constellation for our networked river
Above all, the networking will
lead to enhancement of environment and national connectivity.
Knowledge powered PURA
(Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areas)
Providing Urban amenities in
Rural Areas (PURA) is another example for creating rural wealth and
The model envisages a habitat
designed to improve the quality of life in rural places and makes
special suggestions to remove urban congestion also.
Naturally our most demanding
urban problem is that of congestion removal and efficient supply of
water and effective waste disposal in every locality are the paramount
civic needs. There is a minimum size below which a habitat is not
viable and not competitive with the existing congested city.
At the same time,
the existing congested city is not economical compared to a new town
once a minimum size of expansion is crossed. As against a conventional
city say, rectangular in shape and measuring approximately 10 km by 6
km, the model considers an annular ring-shaped town integrating
minimum 8 to 10 villages of the same 60 km2 area.
This model provides
easy access to villages, saves transportation time and cuts costs
substantially and is more convenient for general public. Knowledge
powered rural development is an essential need for transforming India
into a knowledge power and high bandwidth rural connectivity is the
minimum requirement to take education, health care and economic
activities to the rural areas.
Knowledge society leading to knowledge
super power can prosper and survive only in the environment of
economic security and internal security.
Physical connectivity by
providing roads, electronic connectivity by providing reliable
communication network and knowledge connectivity by establishing
professional institutions and vocational training centers will have to
be done in an integrated way so that economic connectivity will
Such Model of establishing a
circular connectivity among the rural village complexes will
accelerate rural development process by empowerment.
Prosperous, happy and
The nation's strengths
predominantly reside in its natural and human resources.
In natural resources, India is
endowed with a vast coast-line with marine resources and also oil
wealth. In minerals, apart from conventional material resources, it is
well-known that India has the largest deposits of titanium, beryllium
India ranks among the top few
nations having a rich bio-diversity. Knowledge-based value addition
for these natural resources would mean exporting value-added products
rather than merely the raw materials.
Use of IT for
commercialisation and marketing can increase our outreach and speed
enormously. Ancient knowledge is a unique resource of India for it has
the treasure of a minimum of 5000 years of civilisation.
It is essential to leverage
this wealth for national well being as well as to seek global presence
for the nation.
Human resources, particularly
with large young population, are unique core strength of the nation.
This resource can be
transformed through various educational and training programmes.
Skilled, unskilled and creative manpower can be transformed into
wealth generators particularly in the service sectors, agro industries
can be generated out of our existing industries by injecting demand
for high-level software/hardware, which would bring tremendous value
It is said, "the precious
asset for a company or a country is the skill, ingenuity and
imagination of its people. With globalisation, this will become more
important because many will have access to world class technology and
the key distinguishing feature will be the ability of people in
different countries to use their imagination to make the best use of
Indeed development and
innovative use of multiple technologies with mission projects and
transparent management structure will give a thrust to propel India
into a 'developed nation'.
For building the developed
India, what are needed? We have natural resources and we have human
are 700 million people below 35 years in the population of a billion
nation needs young leaders who can command the change for
transformation of India into a developed nation embedded with
knowledge society from now to twenty years.
leaders are the creators of new organizations of excellence.
Quality leaders are like magnets that will attract the best of persons
to build the team for the organization and give inspiring leadership
even during failures of missions as they are not afraid of risks. I
have seen and worked with creators of vision and missions.
The vision ignites
particularly the young mind.
One of the very important
ingredients for success of the vision of transforming India into a
developed nation by 2020 is the evolution of creative leaders.
giving a connectivity between missions of developed India, economic
prosperity, technology, production, productivity, employee role and
management quality, all of which linked to the creative leader.
that creative leader? What are the qualities of a creative leader?
creative leadership is exercising the task to change the traditional
role from commander to coach, manager to mentor, from director to delegator and from one who demands respect to one who facilitate self
respect. The higher the proportion of creative leaders in a nation,
the higher the potential of success of visions like "developed India."
With the vision and
characteristics of creative leader defined, what can be the tasks of
various spectrum of people.
The student community can take the task
during holidays to remove the illiteracy of certain number of people
in their area where their schools or houses are situated.
burning candle can light another. Teachers and parents can assist them
in this task.
The Government and R&D labs can provide technological upgradation to small-scale industries so that production can be
increased and they become competitive.
The large-scale industries have
to increase their productivity and quality so that the market share
can be increased for economic growth and GDP. They can aim to become
multinational companies and global leaders.
The farming community,
have to increase their productivity with the help of available new
scientific methods particularly for dry land cultivation.
Information Technology and knowledge workers have got a tremendous
responsibility to contribute in the areas of tele-medicine,
tele-education and e-governance for rural areas apart from their
PURA (Providing Urban
Amenities to Rural Area) has to be a business proposition economically
viable and managed by entrepreneurs and small scale industrialists
with government participation, as it involves education, health, power
generation, transport and management.
In this vision period, the
whole Government agency, has to build a name for itself, by fast
decision making and transparent administration.
Media has to become a partner
and positive critic in national development.
Our musicians, poets, artisans
and artists should nurture the glory of living of our great
civilization and sing the song of developed India.
type of motivated environment will be indeed a great foundation for
our vision of transforming India into a 'developed nation'.