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Better India's competitiveness: Kalam

President APJ Abdul Kalam emphasises on the need to put India in the top ten among the comity of nations.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2007 17:08 IST

Observing that economic development of a country is powered by knowledge-based capabilities, President APJ Abdul Kalam on Wednesday emphasised the need to improve India's competitiveness and put it in the top ten among the comity of nations.

"The Global Competitiveness Report for 2005-06 ranks Switzerland at the number one spot. Singapore is fifth, the US sixth, South Korea 24, UAE 32, India 43 and China is 54. India's growth in competitiveness is yet to pick up. It should improve from 43 to at least 10 in a decade," he said.

Kalam was speaking after inaugurating an international symposium on automative technology. The seminar was organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in India at the Automotive Research Association of India's (ARAI) campus in Pune.

Besides knowledge, other important factors that shape competitiveness are technology, innovation, resource investment, customer loyalty, quality and value of products, employee productivity, working environment and a creative leadership, said Kalam, who has co-authored a book on how to make India a developed country by 2020.

"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 respect to one who facilitates self-respect."

With several international companies entering automobile production in India, competitiveness has increased in production and marketing, Kalam noted.

"India's automobile industry accounts for a business volume of $45 billion. We have to aspire to work towards increasing the volume to $200 billion by 2016 with an export component of at least $50 billion," he maintained.

"One of the major technological concerns today is that the $45-billion automotive business consumes $35 billion in foreign exchange for procurement of crude oil."

The scientist-President observed that two of the important problems associated with the automobile industry nationally and internationally are pollution and imported costs.

"We have to address both these problems and the research focus has to be on developing alternative fuels which will find a solution for both. It is estimated that fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal will get exhausted within the next 50 to 100 years since they are non-renewable," he said.

According to an article in New Scientist, about 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide is dumped into the atmosphere by countries across the world every year, Kalam said.

This dumping primarily arises due to the use of fossil fuels that directly affect the ozone layer which regulates the sun's radiation on earth, Kalam said.

The earth has begun to experience both stratospheric cooling (due to the ozone hole) and trophosheric warming (due to increased greenhouse gases). Therefore, the question is how to protect our earth, he said.

India's auto designs mostly use metals for the chassis and the body. Researchers have to work on fibre reinforced composites that will have better impact characteristics and eventually this should become cost effective, he said.

Union Minister for Heavy Industries Santosh Mohan Dev, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union Minister Kanti Singh, SAE international executive vice president Ray Morris and ARAI president Jagdish Khattar were present at the seminar.