Creative leaders needed for developed India beyond 2020: A P J Abdul Kalam

Abdul Kalam
Creative leaders with vision will be among key drivers for evolution of a sustainable development model that can lead to an economically developed, happy and peaceful India beyond 2020, according to former President A P J Abdul Kalam.

"A creative leader is one who has a vision, a passion to transform that vision into action.

He or she should be able to travel the unexplored path, know how to manage success and failure, have courage to take decisions, have nobility in management and every action of the leaders should be transparent.

"A crucial aspect of leadership in the 21st century is that a leader should work with integrity," said he.

Kalam was delivering the annual Penguin lecture--"Beyond 2020: Sustained Development Missions For the Nation"--here late last evening during which he outlined his beliefs on the the need for sustainable development of nations and visualised India as an economically developed nation by the year 2020.

The former President detailed that the sustainable development profile of the nation primarily depended on three things, first of which was "a steady economic growth of 9 per cent with minimum variations of 1.5 to 2 per cent."

"Secondly, the job profile of the future is a function of technological nature of business and market operations for sustainaiblity that provides continuous income and growth assurance in such a situation," said Kalam.

"Next is giving back to the environment. For millions of years humanity has always been taking resources without giving anything back to the planet. Time has come to take less and less from nature to achieve sustainability....It will lead to well-being of the people and continuous growth," he said.

The rocket scientist, who is also the father of India's missile development programme, explained that systems like Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), on which he had been working since 2003 could act as "enablers" and bring about inclusive growth and integrated development to the nations of the world and especially to the 700 million people who live in the 600,000 villages in India.

"Today PURA system has graduated to a unique system of sustainable development across the world.

The vision is creating a sustainable development system through the creation of three connectivities namely physical connectivity, knowledge connectivity and electronic connectivity leading to the economic connectivity," he said.

As chairman of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Kalam had presented a document on technology vision 2020 as blueprint to make India into a developed country.

Last evening, he introduced a new model--"user community pyramid which uses a convergence of technology to bring development to people using natural resources optimally for generations to come.

" Also to monitor whether qualitative and quantitative benefits had reached the bottom of the pyramid to users like farmers, fishermen, Kalam explained another concept he dubbed as the "Societal Development Radar.

" The former President took the example of highly populated Uttar Pradesh, a state where half the population comprising "100 million are young people," to explain his model.

To realise all these, Kalam said there is need for a creative leader about whom he felt the need during his stints in ISRO and PURA.

Taking a related audience question after his speech, Kalam said, "In the 1960s, we had political leaders like C Subramanium and technology leader like M S Swaminathan.... Then there was V Sarabhai... these were all visionary leaders."

"Do you think politics is dirty? Our parents tell us to keep away from politic," a young boy posed a question to Kalam.

"That time has gone. I have met 15 million young people at least so far and 50 to 100 hands out of 1000s want to become political leaders. There is a change in the attitude today (toward politics). A creative leader means not only non- political. Mahatma Gandhi was a political creative leader, so in politics also creative leader are there," responded Kalam.

Talking about the need to create a value system to weed out corruption, the missile man said, "During 2003, youths started to ask what I can do to change the situation and contribute to the development of the nation..... During the last 6 months I see a further change in the youth, who now say I can do it.

This has given me confidence that India will become an economically developed nation by 2020."

He said even though social activist Anna Hazare's route was definitely going to bring a very powerful law on anti-corruption, it was not enough.

"I believe that Anna Hazare route is definitely going to bring us a very powerful law on anti-corruption one day.

But what use is the powerful law when there is no place in jail as all the prisons would get filled up, do you want that?" he asked.

"I want to see how many young children can change the value system in country."

He narrated an incident of 1990s when during his address to a group of children in Ahmedabad a young girl got up and asked him when she could start "to sing a song of India."

Kalam said he came to understand that the girl's elder brother, who lived in the US, used to give her accounts about the beautiful lakes, roads and prosperity there and she wanted Kalam to tell her when she too can "sing a song about India like her brother was singing a song about America".

Having authored a number of bestsellers including "India 2020", "Ignited Minds", "Mission India", "The Scientific Indian" and "Target 3 Billion", Kalam is on of the country's distinguished scientists who was responsible for development of India's first satellite launch vehicle, the SLV3.

The five previous Penguin lectures were delivered by journalist-writer Thomas Friedman (2007), diplomat-writer Chris Patten (2008), Nobel laureate Amartya Sen (2009), historian Ramachandra Guha (2010) and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (2011).

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