India can become economically developed by 2020 if its gross domestic product (GDP) can grow at 9 percent from current level of 6.5 percent and by achieving industrial growth of about 25 percent from current level of 15-16 percent, former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi.
“Our GDP is limbing 6.5 percent now it should go to minimum nine per cent GDP, with our 600 million youth population and if our small scale industry, farmers and IT (information technology) are doing very well, with these backgrounds there is a possibility of India becoming economically developed by 2020,” said Dr Kalam in response to a question about his views on various ambitious programs like Digital India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan-Dhan Yojana, Make in India and others launched by the Union Government during the course of past one year.
“Today, 30 percent people live below poverty line, we can lift them up, our industrial growth is only 15-16 percent and we have to go to 25 percent,” said Dr Kalam while inaugurating a summit titled ‘India: Innovative, Creative & Inclusive,’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
He also said that manufacturing industry has to be empowered to achieve 25 per cent GDP contribution by 2020 from 16 per cent as on 2015 by increasing the depth in manufacturing focusing on the level of domestic value addition, enhanced global competitiveness through appropriate policy support and sustainability of growth particularly with regard to the environment.
Dr Kalam emphasised upon the need to have a long-term defence strategy and vision for defence industry growth, involving large private industries as production partners.
“The need of the hour is to establish a Military Industry Complex (MIC) at the national level enlisting large and medium industries to be partners along with defence PSUs as its members,” said Dr Kalam.
“Establishment of MIC envisage not only the industrial development but also create a number of job opportunities,” said Dr Kalam. “This will pave way for knowledge workers to participate and contribute in the production of high-quality systems.”
“This will change world’s perception towards India from an importer country to an exporting giant,” he added.
He also said that the Government should allocate more funds for research and development (R&D). “More thrust has to be given for Government funding for R&D even to private companies to strengthen the indigenous R&D capability.”
Dr Kalam further said that regulations and control procedures are to be implemented in managing private industries for manufacturing of defence systems.
“Encouraging high technology tie-ups and joint ventures between Indian and other global defence industries will achieve not only competitiveness but also envisage the product for export, India cannot afford to lose anymore time in pondering the issue,” said the former President of India.
Talking about his experience of promoting technological innovations, Dr Kalam said, “Our policy ecosystems do not keep in pace with possibilities and potentials presented by technologies and engineering. Also, bigger Indian businesses do not generally look for many such new opportunities.”
Sharing his thoughts on ‘Growth with Innovation is imperative to an economically developed India 2020,’ Dr Kalam also rued at India’s 64th rank in the Global Innovation Index.
“We should at least aim for coming the first 10,” he said.