You are on page 1of 18

Convocation Address at the

National Institute of Technology
Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh
3rd January 2009

NIT a partner in National Development

Technology leads to non-linear growth

I am indeed delighted to participate in the 3rd
Convocation of the National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur
in the beautiful environment. I greet the Director, Professors
and staff for shaping the young minds who will be contributing
towards national development programme. Dear friends, when
you complete your education in this Institute, the learning and
in turn the empowerment will certainly assist you to meet the
challenges in life. My best wishes to all of you. I was looking
at the website of Hamirpur District and noted with happiness
the high literacy rate. I noticed that this district has 940 small
scale industries and 140 khadi and village industries. Can I
give a new year suggestion to the only engineering college this
district has? Can you study systematically the products and
processes from these industries and come out within six
months action plans how these industries can be enabled to
increase their production and increase their exports to outside

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
www.abdulkalam.com
 

Page 1 of 18 

 
the state and the country. When I am with you, I would like to
talk on the topic “NIT a partner in National Development”.
First, let me talk about systems integration, engineering and
management experience I had during my education at MIT
Chennai.

Systems integration, engineering and management

While I was studying aeronautical engineering in MIT,
Chennai, (1954-57) during the third year of my course, I was
assigned a project to design a low-level attack aircraft together
with six other colleagues. I was given the responsibility of
system design and system integration by integrating the team
members. Also, I was responsible for aerodynamic and
structural design of the project. The other five of my team took
up the design of propulsion, control, guidance, avionics and
instrumentation of the aircraft. My design teacher Prof.
Srinivasan, the then Director of MIT, was our guide. He
reviewed the project and declared my work to be gloomy and
disappointing. He didn’t lend an ear to my difficulties in
bringing together data base from multiple designers. I asked
for a month’s time to complete the task, since I had to get the
inputs from five of my colleagues without which I cannot
complete the system design. Prof. Srinivasan told me "Look,
young man, today is Friday afternoon. I give you three days
time. If by Monday morning I don’t get the configuration

 

Page 2 of 18 
design, your scholarship will be stopped." I had a jolt in my
life, as scholarship was my lifeline, without which I cannot
continue with my studies. There was no other way out but to
finish the task. My team felt the need for working together
round the clock. We didn’t sleep that night, working on the
drawing board skipping our dinner. On Saturday, I took just
an hour’s break. On Sunday morning, I was near completion,
when I felt someone’s presence in my laboratory. It was Prof.
Srinivasan studying my progress. After looking at my work, he
patted and hugged me affectionately. He had words of
appreciation: "I knew I was putting you under stress and
asking you to meet a difficult deadline. You have done great job
in system design”.

Through this review mechanism Prof Srinivasan, really
injected the necessity of understanding the value of time by
each team member and brought out the best from the system
design team. I realized that if something is at stake, the
human minds get ignited and the working capacity gets
enhanced manifold. That’s what exactly happened. This is one
of the techniques of building talent. The message is that young
in the organization, whatever be their specialization, be
trained to systems approach and projects, which will prepare
them for new products, innovation and undertaking higher
organizational responsibilities. Teacher has to be a coach like
Prof. Srinivasan.
 

Page 3 of 18 
Integrated Missions for Economic Development of
Himachal Pradesh
Dear friends, while addressing the Himachal Pradesh
Legislative Assembly during December 2004, I had proposed
nine missions for the Himachal Pradesh, so that (1) Himachal
Pradesh will have 100% literacy (2) value added employment
opportunity and healthcare for all (3) doubling of the per
capita income of the entire state (4) providing comprehensive
physical, electronic and knowledge connectivity to the entire
state using the core competence of the state. The nine
missions for prosperity of Himachal Pradesh are: (1) Literacy,
Skills, Education and Health Care, (2) Providing Urban
Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), (3) Medicinal, Floriculture
and Aromatic Plants, (4) Intensive horticulture, (5) Integrated
Water Resource Management, (6) hydro power generation, (7)
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), (8)
Tourism, and (9) Value-added Garment Industry. These
missions are aimed to lead Himachal to prosperity within the
next five years through the use of Himachal’s core strengths,
and formulation of progressive agricultural, horticultural and
industrial policies towards a well developed productive
environment. I am sure, NIT Hamirpur can study the missions
and give a plan of action for the state government authorities
for implementing the missions and also provide the necessary
technical human resource needed for its timely

 

Page 4 of 18 
accomplishment. NIT Hamirpur has to become development
partner of Himachal Pradesh.

Dimensions of Knowledge Society
In the knowledge economy the objective of a society
changes from fulfilling the basic needs of all-round
development to empowerment. The education system will be
promoted by creative, interactive self learning – formal and
informal education with focus on values, merit and quality.
The workers instead of being skilled or semi-skilled will be
knowledgeable, self-empowered and flexibly skilled. The type of
work instead of being structured and hardware driven will be
less structured and software driven. Management style will
emphasize more on delegation rather than giving command.
Impact on environment and ecology will be strikingly less
compared to industrial economy. Finally, the economy will
mostly be driven by knowledge and knowledge driven industry
for which Institutions like NIT are the providers of knowledge
professionals.
In this context, I would like to give you my visualization
of the distinctive profile of India by the year 2020:

Distinctive Profile of India by 2020

1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has
reduced to a thin line.

 

Page 5 of 18 
2. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution and
adequate access to energy and quality water.
3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service
sector work together in symphony.
4. A Nation where education with value system is not
denied to any meritorious candidates because of
societal or economic discrimination.
5. A Nation, which is the best destination for the most
talented scholars, scientists, and investors.
6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to
all.
7. A Nation where the governance is responsive,
transparent and corruption free.
8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradicated,
illiteracy removed and crimes against women and
children are absent and none in the society feels
alienated.
9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of
terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a
sustainable growth path.
10. A Nation that is one of the best places to live in and is
proud of its leadership.
Integrated Action for developed India
To achieve the distinctive profile of India, we have the
mission of transforming India into a developed nation. We

 

Page 6 of 18 
have identified five areas where India has a core competence
for integrated action: (1) Agriculture and food processing (2)
Education and Healthcare (3) Information and Communication
Technology (4) Reliable and Quality Electric power, Surface
transport, Air transport and Infrastructure for all parts of the
country and (5) Self-reliance in critical technologies. These five
areas are closely inter-related and if progressed in a
coordinated way, will lead to food, economic and national
security.
Friends, as you see the country’s development requires
innovation in engineering. With the present economic
turbulence and the job market situation some of you may have
apprehension. You need not have any worries. I would urge
you to form working groups on each of the pillar of the
development profile and come out with suggestions as to how
an academic institution like yours and engineering profession
can contribute to each of the pillar. Now let me discuss some
of the major national missions and opportunities for
engineering professionals.

National Missions and opportunities

Agriculture and food processing: We are in the mission
of generating 340 million tones of food grains with reduced
land, with reduced water and with reduced workforce from the

 

Page 7 of 18 
present 230 million tonnes. New technology is needed in
agricultural area from seeds to cultivation to the grain, food
processing and marketing. Himachal is well known for potato
production. The quality of potato seeds determine more than
70% improvement in productivity. For maintaining this
improvement it is essential to change the seed at appropriate
intervals (3 years). Farmers need to be apprised about this
requirement since they tend to use the same seed for several
years. There is an opportunity for food processing in potatos.
This entire chain will enable employment particularly in rural
areas in a big way.

Infrastructure: India is aspiring to build hundred million
homes within next ten years. The infrastructure development
in metropolitan and tier-2 cities needs to be enhanced in the
form of new bridges, airports, marketing complexes and
industrial units. 40% of the rural areas need to be covered
with all weather roads; we need to double the present national
highways ratio for the 100 square kilometer area.
Simultaneously, we are in the process of developing ports,
railway systems and airports. For example, the Indian
Construction Industry employs over 31 million people for its
asset generating activity of over Rs. 3,10,000 crore which
includes expenditure of Rs. 2,00,000 crore incurred by the
Government. This will need development of specialized quality
human resource in all the spectrum of construction activity.
 

Page 8 of 18 
This task will need reorientation of our education system for
generating world class skills among the youth. Institutions
like NIT can play an important role in generating such quality
manpower for the construction sector. The skill sets will
enable higher productivity which in turn will result in better
competitiveness and creation of assets at lower costs.

Energy: Energy Independence is our national goal. We
are determined to achieve this within the next 25 years i.e by
the year 2030. When our population may touch 1.4 billion
people, demand from power sector will increase from the
existing 145,000 MW to about 400,000 MW. This assumes an
energy growth rate of 5% per annum. Electric power
generation in India now accesses four basic energy sources:
Fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal; Hydroelectricity;
Nuclear power; and Renewable energy sources such as bio-
fuels, solar, biomass, wind and ocean. We need a major
thrust in solar energy (55,000 MW) and wind energy (64,000
MW) nuclear energy (50,000 MW) hydro power sources (66,000
MW) and bio-mass and municipal waste (20,000 MW). For the
transportation sector, we have to concentrate on bio-diesel,
ethanol and emulsified fuel.

Safe Drinking Water: Over 50% people do not have safe
drinking water in India. We are in the process of embarking
on the major mission of “Interlinking of Rivers” in the nation

 

Page 9 of 18 
and the statewide creation of “Waterways” which will act as a
reservoir to accommodate floodwater and enhance the
irrigation, navigation and tourism. This is an important
activity needing the support of Civil Engineers.

Healthcare: India is in the mission of “Health for all”
programme and “Vision 2020” for eye care. It provides
tremendous opportunity in the primary, secondary and
tertiary healthcare. We are also in the mission of establishing
tele-medicine centers in the Primary Health Centre of 2 lakh
panchayats through connectivity mission via Satellite,
Terrestrial and wireless links. We have to enhance the
nutrition aspects of all citizens, particularly women and
children and also provide 100% sanitary facilities in homes,
schools and other public places.

Pharma Vision: The global production of
pharmaceuticals, branded and generics put together is of the
order of $550 billion. The Indian Pharma industry at present
has a turnover of $12.5 billion of generics for domestic and
export markets against the production of $78 billion worth of
generics in the world. Pharma Council has evolved the Pharma
Vision 2020 with a view to make India the leader in drug
production. We have set a target of producing 40% of world
generics production. Indian pharmaceutical companies have
got the core competence for producing cost effective and

 

Page 10 of 18 
quality Pharma products. Our Pharma companies are working
towards molecule to drug and have embarked on number of
research programmes in developing medicines using our
traditional knowledge.

Information and Communication Technology: India
has to become “Knowledge System Powerhouse” instead of
software powerhouse. Also to achieve global operations, we
have to consider introduction of virtual platforms for
development of knowledge products based on national
experience in engineering design of multiple systems leading to
a business volume of US$200 billion by 2012 from the present
business volume of US$60 billion.
Aero space field: In the area of space, India has to
work for Low cost access to space bringing the cost per kg
from the present $20,000 per orbital kg to $2,000. This will
eventually lead India to take part in many mass missions for
earth applications and interplanetary exploration for industrial
base and second habitat. India has to work for 70 seater
aircraft which is viable to be produced before 2020 and with
enormous potential for air transportation in our country.. This
will lead to a business volume of US$15 billion.

Automobile: The automobile industry in India accounts
for a business volume of US $ 45 billion. Definitely, it has a
potential to grow much faster both through Indian

 

Page 11 of 18 
manufacturers and many well-known international
manufacturers who have established huge facilities in the
country. We are poised to increase business volume to US $
200 billion by 2016 with an export component of at least US
$50 billion.

Shipbuilding: India today builds ships for oil exploration,
service vessels, port operations, self-propelled barges for river
transports and cargo ships upto 92,000 DWT. In addition, we
have facility for building combat ships for the Indian Navy. By
2008, we will have three shipyards for building vessels of
capacity 100,000 to 150,000 DWT. We have to create facilities
for vessel ranging from 150,000 DWT to 300,000 DWT.
Simultaneously, there is a need for setting up of shipyards.
The technology has under gone a sea change. Many of the
shipbuilders in the world are building for India.

Rail Vision 2030: I have suggested increasing the
railway route length from the existing 63,000 kilometer to
90,000 kilometer, increasing average speed of trains to 200
kilometer per hour, establishment of number of metros,
integrating Indian Railways with inland smart waterways with
15,000 kilometers waterways, construction of multilevel
railways platforms to reduce platform crowding and overall
increase in the passenger and freight throughput.

 

Page 12 of 18 
PURA Mission: As I said earlier, the entire country will
have 7000 PURAs (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas)
encompassing over 600,000 villages. I understand Hamirpur
district has over 400 villages with a population of 8 lakhs. I
would suggest, Faculty members and students of NIT
Hamirpur to plan around 8-10 PURA complexes in the district
and create one PURA complex around NIT Hamirpur itself.
The theme of PURA, apart from concentrating on reinforcing
agriculture, will emphasize on agro processing, development of
Rural Craftsmanship, dairy, fishing, silk production, so that
the non-farm revenue for the rural sector is enhanced, based
on the core competence of the region. Also the PURA
complexes will be driven by renewable energy such as solar,
wind, bio-fuel and conversion of municipal waste into power.
In this approach, the aim is to make sustainable development
using the core competence of the rural sector. In addition
Periyar PURA and Vallam (TN) has developed a scheme called
“one village one product” where 40 products from 40 villages
have been selected after two levels of exhibitions in India and
Tokyo in partnership with Jetro. Such programmes have to be
spread in all parts of the country based on the core-
competence of individual region.

All these programmes which I have mentioned above
have social, research and technological content with
substantial amount of opportunities for engineers and
 

Page 13 of 18 
technologists leading to cost effective economic growth of the
nation in the globalized scenario. Engineers of NIT can carve
out their own niche areas and prepare themselves for
providing quality engineering support which will enable
execution of the economic programme in time and at
internationally competitive costs.

Suggestions for NIT Hamirpur
With a wide variety of Engineering Faculty and students
in NIT Hamirpur, I would request you to specifically address
the following:
1. Work out strategies for increasing the per capita
income of the 4 lakh employable people of Hamirpur
District by knowledge empowerment and facilitating
the creation of small and micro industries based on
the raw material and core competence available in
the district.

2. Since this area is situated between 400 metres and
1100 metres altitude, NIT-H can study the
possibility of Jatropha plantation in the region. That
will enable creation of centres for producing bio-
diesel. The bio-diesel plants can be designed and
produced by NIT engineers in partnership with local
industry.

 

Page 14 of 18 
3. Planning at least 8 PURA Complexes for the entire
Hamirpur district. Undertaking to execute one
PURA complex around NIT Hamirpur in partnership
with industry, state government and the elected
representatives.

4. Adopt at least 20 secondary and higher secondary
schools in Hamirpur district and enhance the
quality of education of these schools through
training of teachers and training of students during
the vacation using tele-education system. Over all
effect should be to facilitate large number of
Hamirpur district students to get admission in NIT
Hamirpur.

5. The energy environment Faculty of the NIT may
consider creation of a energy independence plan for
Hamirpur district, through generation of electricity
through micro-hydel plants, solar energy systems,
plants run by bio-mass and wind power wherever
possible. Also, the new Faculty can work on dense
afforestation of the district and making the district
free from the use of fossil fuels.

Conclusion

Dear friends, the nation had three dreams which have
taken shape as vision and transformed as missions. Space
 

Page 15 of 18 
programme of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization),
AGNI programme of DRDO (Defence Research and
Development Organization) have been fully realized, and PURA
(Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) is being realized in
many places. Of course, these three programmes succeeded
in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked
in all these three areas. I want to convey to you what I have
learnt on leadership, from these three programmes.

1. Leader must have a vision.
2. Leader must have a passion to transform the vision
into action.
3. Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored
path.
4. Leader must know how to manage a success and
failure.
5. Leader must have courage to take decisions.
6. Leader should have Nobility in management.
7. Every action of the leader should be transparent.
8. Leader must work with integrity and succeed with
integrity.
In order to achieve excellence in any area or in any
institution, what we need is creative leadership. Creative
leadership means exercising the vision to change the
traditional role from the commander to the coach, manager to
mentor, from director to delegator and from one who demands
 

Page 16 of 18 
respect to one who facilitates self-respect. I am sure, NIT
Hamirpur will generate such leaders in Engineering and
technology for participating in our national development
mission.

With these words, I once again congratulate all the
graduating students. My best wishes to all the member of NIT
success in the mission of generating quality technical human
resource needed by the nation.

May God Bless you.

Eight point Oath for Graduating Students

1. Engineering and Technology is a life time mission. I will
work, work and work and succeed.
2. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind.
That is what process or product I can innovate, invent or
discover.
3. I will always remember that “Let not my winged days, be
spent in vain”.
4. I realize I have to set a great technological goal that will
lead me to think high, work and persevere to realize the
goal.
5. My greatest friends will be great scientific/technological
minds, good teachers and good books.

 

Page 17 of 18 
6. I firmly believe that no problem can defeat me; I will
become the captain of the problem, defeat the problem
and succeed.
7. I will work and work for removing the problems faced by
planet earth in the areas of water, energy, habitat, waste
management and environment through the application of
science and technology.
8. My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to
my nation.  

 

Page 18 of 18