Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: Former President of India
  Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam    
BackHome » Speeches

24-12-2003 : Agra, Uttra Pradesh

Vision 2020: Developed India as a Mission

I am indeed delighted to participate in the Special Convocation-2003 of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University. I take this opportunity to congratulate the University students for their academic performance. I greet the Vice Chancellor, professors, teachers and staff for their contribution in shaping young minds to contribute to the nation in multiple fields. The topic, I have selected for this convocation address is: Vision 2020: Developed India as a Mission.

Vision for the nation

We have in our nation 260 million people living below the poverty line. The nation has to lift them up. Today the GDP growth rate is about 5%, it has to be lifted up to 10% and to be sustained for few years then it is possible for India to get developed economically and the billion people will feel the prosperity of the nation. The roadmap for that has been laid out with five mega missions. For transforming India into a developed nation by 2020, TIFAC task teams have identified five areas where India has core competence for an integrated action. (1) Agriculture and food processing - we have to place a target of 360 million tons of food and agricultural production. Other areas of agriculture and agro food processing would bring prosperity to rural people and speed up economic growth. (2) Reliable and quality electric power for all parts of the country. (3) Education and healthcare - we have seen, based on experience, education and healthcare are inter related. (4) Information communication technology - this is one of our core competencies. We believe this area can be used to promote education in remote areas and also to create national wealth. (5) Strategic sectors - this area, fortunately, witnessed growth in nuclear technology, space technology and defence technology. Other areas like advanced sensors and materials would need a push.

These five areas are closely inter-related and would lead to national, food, and economic security. India is a nation endowed with natural and competitive advantages as also certain distinctive competencies. But these are scattered in isolated pockets and the awareness on these is inadequate. During the last century the world has undergone a change from agriculture society, where natural labour was the critical factor, to industrial society where the management of technology, capital and labour provided the competitive advantage. In 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 in the form of better health, education, infrastructure and other social indicators. Knowledge society will be the foundation for transforming India into a developed nation.


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 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 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 personnel. 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 mission mode.


Significance of knowledge society

Knowledge society has two very important components driven by societal transformation and wealth generation. The societal transformation is on education, healthcare, agriculture and governance. These will lead to employment generation, high productivity and rural prosperity. How do we do that?

The wealth generation is a very important task for the nation, which has to be woven around national competencies. The task team has identified core areas that will spearhead our march towards knowledge society. The areas are: Information Technology, bio-technology, weather forecasting, disaster management, tele-medicine and tele-education, technologies to produce native knowledge products, service sector and Infotainment which is the emerging area resulting from convergence of Information and entertainment. These core technologies, fortunately, can be interwoven by IT. IT took off only due to enterprising spirit of the young. Thus there are multiple technologies and management structure that have to work together to generate knowledge society. The universities have to be the partners in the process of development by building the capacities among the young for nation building.


Capacities for nation building

University is the reservoir of the enlightened human resource for the nation. For enabling the youth coming out from the university to participate in the national development vision, it is necessary for the universities to prepare the young to take up the challenging tasks ahead. For realizing the vision 2020, the capacities required in University education are: The capacity for research and inquiry, the capacity for Creativity and Innovation, particularly the creative transfer of knowledge, the capacity to use high technology, the capacity for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the capacity for Moral Leadership

a. Research and enquiry: 21st century is about the management of all the knowledge and information we have generated and give value to it. We must give our youth, the skills with which they find a way through the sea of knowledge that we have created. Today, we have the ability, through technology, to really and truly teach ourselves and to become the life-long learners that any sustained economic and political development requires.

b. Creativity and innovation: We can best teach ourselves by teaching others. The management of knowledge in 21st century is beyond the capacity of individuals. The amount of information that we have is overwhelming and has exceeded the capacity of individuals. We must learn how to manage knowledge collectively. In other words we must not only teach ourselves, but teach others.

c. Capacity to use of high technology: Every student in our universities should graduate to know how to use the latest technologies for aiding their learning process. Universities should equip themselves with adequate computing equipment, laboratory equipments, Internet facilities and provide an environment for the students to enhance their learning ability.

d. Moral leadership: Moral leadership involves two aspects. First it requires the ability to have compelling and powerful dreams or visions of human betterment. A state of things in which human beings could be better off in the future than they are now. Secondly, moral leadership requires a disposition to do the right thing and influence others also to do the right thing.


Dynamics of development

Research today, not only has become important but is now becoming the driving force in the process of self-reliance of all cutting edge technologies. Research in certain universities has been the main contributor and the guiding force in realizing their core competence. Our road map for the next few decades will see many new frontiers in the areas of nano-science and engineering, space technology, advanced materials and composite technology, biotechnology in the fields of drugs and pharmaceuticals etc. It is imperative, that universities realize the importance of these areas and the effect that they are going to have in shaping the future.


Convergence of Technologies

The technologies are converging together to provide a quality of service (QOS) with the reduced infrastructural setup. The information technology and communication technology have already converged leading to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Now, nano-technology is knocking at our doors. It is the field of the future that will replace micro electronics and many fields with tremendous application potential in the areas of medicine, electronics and material science. When nano technology and ICT meet, an integrated silicon electronics, photonics is born and it can be said that material convergence may happen. With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new science called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which leads to a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and super human capabilities.


Networking of universities

What is needed today is the appropriate networking of universities with this scientific organization and other government departments to spearhead important research programmes in the emerging areas. Universities need to rise to the occasion and give the most dynamic opportunity to both the students and teachers to undertake advanced research which will build most important knowledge resource and core competence. The universities will get transformed into Centres of Excellence in Specific areas. I would suggest Agra University to concentrate on developing students for knowledge powered PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) and Development of Tourism mission in the country.


Entrepreneurial leadership

When the student goes out of this campus after graduation, they should have the confidence to start an enterprise individually or jointly. Entrepreneurship development should become a part of University education. Recent experiences in some of the developed country indicate that large number of small entrepreneurs employing less than 50 persons in their establishments make significant contribution to the economic progress of a nation. We need such entrepreneurs in large numbers in our country for developing and transforming our village clusters into sustainable economic units. The entrepreneurial leadership has three parts. First, problem finding and problem solving in the context of development. In second part, the entrepreneurs should have the willingness to take risk and be bold to do things differently. We must teach our graduates to take calculated risks for the sake of larger gain. The third part is the disposition to do things right.


Role of universities in National missions

These capacities will enable them to take up various national missions such as establishment and running of PURA (Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areas) in their regions and promoting tourism.



The graduates passing out from this university can dedicate themselves to contribute to the mission of developed India 2020 by working in the PURA programme. This mission envisages creation of rural wealth and prosperity. The model envisages a habitat designed to improve the quality of life in rural areas and make special suggestions to remove urban congestion. 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 emanate. The PURA has to be a business proposition economically viable and managed by entrepreneurs and small scale industrialists, as it involves education, health, power generation, transport and management. Government's support should be available in empowering such management agencies in providing initially economic support and finding the right type of management structure and the leaders to manage. The PURA scheme makes clusters of villages developed, in addition to maintaining rural beauty. The next mission in which the students can contribute is tourism.



The vast civilisational heritage of our country, ranging from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, J&K, Central India, North Eastern states, Bihar, Western States, the large coastal line, Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadeep Islands, have a lot to attract the tourists. Particularly, Agra and its adjoining places form an excellent pilgrim and tourist centre.

After my visit to almost all the regions of the country, I have realized that the tourism industry has a tremendous prospect for wealth generation and should operate as a mission with higher targets. To succeed in this mission tourism has to be developed and promoted as a common endeavour by all concerned Government as well as private sector agencies. A constructive partnership between the private and public sectors has to be established and sustained for growth. We need to establish innovative products and world-class infrastructure. Thrust is required to be given for inland water navigation, hotels, communication, entertainment and tourist promotion.

The University should work in partnership with the private and public sector units and design diploma courses in tourism with various specializations to meet the challenge of deploying the best human resource for the tourist industry. This supplementary diploma should be given to all the students passing out with various degrees. The Diploma courses offered by Agra University will address the preservation of old monuments and developing state of the art infrastructure for the tourist. This will also give a thrust to the architects and engineering industry simultaneously. The training should emphasize on the cultural, historic and civilizational heritage aspect of tourism management and develop visitor friendly tourist managers. This will ensure proper placement of students in the tourism industry in UP and in many other states.


Conclusion: Message for the youth for the year 2004

For the year 2004, I have a message for the youth of our country. All youth should have indomitable spirit. Indomitable spirit has two components. First you should have an aim and work for it. Second while working, you will definitely encounter some problems. In those circumstances, do not allow problems to become your master, you should become master of the problems, defeat them and succeed. Fortunately our nation has a great resource of young population. Ignited minds of the young are the greatest resource compared to any resource on the earth, under the earth and above the earth. When ignited minds work and perform with indomitable spirit; prosperous, happy and safe India is assured. I wish you all success.




Profile Books Poetry Songs Quotes