Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: Former President of India
  Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam    
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04-06-2007 : New Delhi
Reaching the unreached

"Integrated development is
the key to national prosperity"


I am indeed delighted to confer the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding on President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil who is one of the foremost leaders of Latin America and also one of the leading personalities on the world stage. I am going to discuss with you a few thoughts on "Reaching the Unreached", that is indeed the mission of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

As we honour President Lula with the Jawaharlal Nehru Award, we realize the Award has been enriched. At this point of time, let me recall Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's sterling contribution to India's development through major national programs of industrialization, establishment of great science institutions, promoting of science and scientific temper, agrarian and land reforms, infrastructure and energy development. Nehru was also an exponent of people's prosperity, a means to address long-standing national challenges.


Wiping the tears from every eye

Mr President, you are evolving prosperity for the nation in an integrated way. Your experience in life as a young boy and leader of the nation is unique. You lived with the people, you became part of the people and you know their pain. This is the greatest strength of any nation and Brazil is fortunate to have you as a people's leader and the President. In this context, I would like to quote Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who says, "the ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that they can live apart". The mission before the world today is to remove every tear from every eye. It is a big challenge. You have been able to bring about macro level economic stability to Brazil for more than five years while following people friendly policies aimed at improving the conditions of the needy and the under privileged. This has resulted in Brazil having a steady GDP growth on the one hand and it has been able to reach the eleven million unreached and remove their tears through its "Zero Hunger" and Family Fund Programmes. My salutations to you Mr President and greetings to the people of Brazil.


Energy and Environmental Challenges

Today environmental protection is the biggest challenge to humanity. Recently, New Scientist magazine reported every year the nations are producing 30 bn tons of carbon dioxide and released to the atmosphere due to the use of petrol and diesel derived from fossil materials in the transportation sector. It has the potential of damaging ozone layer. The Atmosphere is indeed a human heritage for living systems of the planet earth. To protect the atmosphere all the more we have to go for energy independence and not energy security. I am very happy that Brazil has introduced large scale utilization of bio-fuel in the transportation sector. This is very close the clean energy and free from pollution. Brazil's initiative for International Bio-fuel Forum is indeed one of the milestones leading to near clean energy. Throughout the world there must be a mission of reducing the fossil fuel driven vehicles by 50% through the use of biofuel, before the year 2020. India is embarking on a huge programme of bio-fuel area. It is also essential, whatever we do our forests wealth has to be protected. In this area including energy independence, India and Brazil can work together, which many nations may benefit.


National Prosperity Index

When I study the methodology followed by President Lula, I am reminded of National Prosperity Index which we in India are evolving to bring integrated prosperity to the billion people of the country.

While we are happy that Indian economy is in the ascent phase and our GDP is growing at nearly 9% per annum, it is evident that the economic growth needs to fully reflect in the quality of life of large numbers of people, particularly in the rural areas and even in urban areas. Hence, we have evolved what is called "National Prosperity Index (NPI)" which is a summation of (a) Annual growth rate of GDP; - plus (b) improvement in quality of life of the people, particularly those living below poverty line plus (c) the adoption of value system derived from our civilizational heritage in every walk of life which is unique to India. That is NPI=a+b+c. Progressive reduction of people who are presently living below poverty line to near zero by 2020 by increasing their quality of life in terms of food, shelter, water, energy, infrastructure, education and health will be the indicators of the growth of 'b' in percentage. 'c' is a function of promoting joint family system, creation of a spirit of working together, leading a righteous way of life, removing social inequities, and above all promoting a conflict free, harmonious society. The social status and civilizational heritage of societies being served is considered as an important component for integrated development. In this respect, the component 'c' is unique to every country. Brazil and India can definitely work together in the evolution of the National Prosperity Index which can be used by many nations as a true measure of the prosperity and well being of a nation.



India values President Lula's contribution in furthering the relationship between our two countries. We are, therefore, indeed privileged to honour you today as a true friend of India, an outstanding leader of Brazil, who symbolizes the aspirations of many developing countries. As we confer the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for the year 2006 upon you, President Lula, on behalf of the people of India, let me extend my warmest congratulations and good wishes to you and through you to the people of Brazil.

May God bless You.

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam




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