Smile on Billion Faces

An Address to the Nation on the Eve of 55th Republic Day  His Excellency Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam  President of India


Dear Citizens, on this important day on the eve of 55th Republic Day of India, I am indeed happy to greet all the billion citizens of our country including those living abroad. I also greet the members of the armed forces and paramilitary forces who guard our frontiers on the land, the sea and the air and also internal security forces. I would like to share some of my thoughts for evolution of a beautiful India, combining economic prosperity and value system drawn from our civilizational heritage.

Indian economic scenario

Indian economy shows a very robust and consistent growth, indicated by the recent 8.4% GDP growth in the second quarter of 2003-2004. Our foreign exchange reserves have crossed the $100 billion mark and are continuously rising. The rupee is steady and the middle class resurgence and the domestic buying power are on the rise. This has made our economy one of the fastest growing in the world. The time has come for these economic benefits to reach speedily the rural population through development programmes such as PURA - Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areas and Interlinking of Rivers. Economists all around the world predict that by the year 2020, the world economic scenario will be completely different from what it is today, and that India will occupy the pride of position. 

Indian industries in certain sectors have matured to be very responsive to the national and international needs and have shown steady growth inspite of earlier adverse predictions. Interest rates from the banks need to be more proactive to stimulate the growth of the right type of small, medium scale industry and agro food processing industries. The combination of entrepreneurship education in the schools and colleges, the hassle free flow of venture capital and evolution of good market will give additional momentum for national growth. 

Transforming India into a competitive beautiful nation

Dear citizens, for the next five years, with certain progress behind us, the challenge we have, is to launch a major thrust for attaining national prosperity. We should convert the present opportunity and work towards giving our future generations, a competitive nation which has the following characteristics. 

Profile of Competitive India

a. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy. 

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

c. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution of energy and quality water.

d. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony, absorbing technology thereby resulting in sustained wealth generation leading to higher employment potential.

e. A Nation where education is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.

f. A Nation which is the best destination for the most talented scholars and scientists all over the world.

g. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all the billion population and the diseases like AIDS/TB, water borne diseases, Cardiac diseases and Cancer are extinct. 

h. A Nation where the governance uses the best of the technologies to be responsive, transparent, easily accessible and simple in rules, thereby corruption free. i. A Nation where poverty has been totally alleviated, illiteracy and crime against women are eradicated and the society is unalienated. 

j. A Nation that is one of the best places to live in, on the earth and brings smiles on a billion faces.

These are the ten dimensional transformations needed for a competitive India and we have to work for. 

Peace in the offing

For continuing our mission of national development and economic growth in our sub-continent, peace is a paramount ingredient. Most nations have realized that low intensity proxy wars, deterrence based buildups and real wars are too expensive detractors from the perceived visions of development. The development of the society also weans away its people from destructive activities of alienation, leading to celebration of peace-makers. 

When guns are silent,
Flowers blossom on the earth;
Fragrance engulfs good souls,
Who created beautiful silence.
India will always be grateful to the successful peacemakers. 

Towards Unity of minds

Dear citizens, when I assumed office on 25th July 2002, I addressed the need for unity of minds becoming one of the focused missions for our nation. Recently fifteen Gurus, Acharyas, Swamijis, Maulavis, Reverent Fathers, Spiritual leaders, devotees and the representatives of many religions met at S
urat in the presence of His Holiness Acharya Mahaprajna and deliberated for two days and took vital decisions leading to the religions graduating as spiritual force. Also, they have declared that the nation is bigger than any leader or individual or an organization. They had collectively evolved five inter-religious projects for implementation. Nation's best wishes to our spiritual leaders and their mission of transforming religions into a spiritual force.

Challenges before Us

Also certain challenges before the nation are to be addressed collectively in the immediate future to facilitate faster pace of national development. 

Service to Society: Our scientists should become civic scientists and contribute towards societal transformation. Civic means concerning or affecting the community or the people. In the new capacity, scientists step beyond their campuses, laboratories, ministries and institutes and move into the center of their communities to engage in active dialogue and action with their fellow citizens. They should ask themselves a question, how their knowledge can make an impact on the common man's life. Our civil servants and others in the service sector should become fearlessly people-friendly, have a positive attitude, and provide responsive, proactive, transparent and unbiased administration and service to the billion people. Primary education: Assent has been accorded for the 86th Constitution Amendment Act - Right to Education Bill for children between the age group of 5 and 14 years. Urgent action is needed for providing suitable school infrastructure and appointment of good teachers for running the schools for providing quality education to the children blended with the modern technologies of e-learning and tele-education. While doing so a review of the syllabus is also required to prevent overloading of the children for ensuring blossoming of their creativity. 

Protecting the Brand image of higher education: The nation's vision of developed India requires greater thrust to scientific and technological advancements. All our IITs, IIMs have graduated as world class brand institutions in addition to the century old premier institution - Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. These characteristics must be preserved and nurtured. We should also encourage universities to become cradles of higher learning and research, contributing generation of high skilled global human resource force. 

Examination reforms: Often, we have witnessed that many important national examinations have been the target of attack by a select group of corrupt individuals who undermine the very fabric of secrecy and transparency of the conduct of these examinations. While we should deal with such individuals with sternness to protect the image of our national selection system and the quality, we should also find technological solution that can ensure tamperproof examination system. 

Agriculture and Agro food processing

With farmers in focus, farming technology as their friend, and food processing and marketing as partners is indeed the second green revolution. From now on to 2020, India would have to gradually increase the production to around 400 million tones per annum. The increase in the production will have to be done under the reduced availability of land from 170 million hectares to 100 million hectares with reduced water availability using technological inputs.


Institutions of Pharmaceutical sciences and Pharma industries need to evolve an integrated and comprehensive National Pharma Vision to meet the challenges of design to drug development, production and marketing. The major challenge before the Pharma community is to prevent the entry of spurious drugs and eradicate it's presence in the market.


With our self-reliance in our Space programme it is time we should enter into the global market aggressively. The exploration of the moon through 'Chandrayaan' and keeping our sight on the Mars will electrify the entire country, particularly young scientists and children. 


Modernization of our armed forces with force multipliers is indeed progressing to meet the national security needs. Defence technology has led to the development of long range missile systems and supersonic cruise missile, Light Combat Aircraft, Electronic warfare systems, radars, under-water sensors, combat vehicles and armaments. The Indo-Russian joint venture programme - BRAHMOS is one of the leading examples of development, production and marketing of state-of-the-art missile system.


Our power generation capacity of hundred thousand megawatt has to be tripled by the year 2020. In addition to the power generation from the conventional sources we need to enhance the power generation capacity through non-conventional energy sources to attain power security. Also the present nuclear capacity of 2700 Megawatts should be enhanced to more than 20,000 Megawatts by 2020. Desalination plants can be co-located with the future nuclear power plants for converting sea-water to drinking water. We need to establish large solar farms of 800 to 1000 Megawatts capacity in many areas to augment the energy requirements.

Science and Technology Growth

Every academic institution and research and development organisation is a reservoir of knowledge. Technology will also spin off to societal products which are cost effective, high-quality and available to the people in time. Thrust is required in nanoscience and biotechnology to achieve leadership in these areas in the coming decade. The scientists and technologists must undertake a health mission "Let my brain remove the pain". The scientific community must realize that the competitiveness can come only by integrated mission driven programmes partnered by academy, research and development organisation and industry.

Civic Awareness

The status of environmental cleanliness is one of the indicators of development of a nation. As a nation, we have to keep our environment clean and tidy. This is essential for better health conditions of all the citizens and also for presenting a wholesome and aesthetic atmosphere for us and also the tourists visiting our country. It is essential that we keep all our places of worship and rivers clean and tidy to preserve their innate divinity. Each one of the States may promulgate appropriate local laws for promoting harmonious environment in their regions.

Election manifesto

The general elections for 14th Lok Sabha will take place in early 2004. I was thinking what could be the manifesto of the competing political parties for the election. India has more than 540 million people up to the age of 25 years. India is a nation of youth. During my interactions with the youth of our country, two aspects have come out very clearly. One is that the young have a passion, self respect and dream to live in developed India. Second, they want to live in a corruption free India. I can see these two are glowing in their eyes. I am also convinced that we should build developed India in a time bound way to prevent instability in the society. Hence the manifesto of the political parties has to take into account their aspirations and design them to meet the dream of the young and be resonant with their aspirations with identified missions and action plan. Every political party must clearly state their vision, action plan, and approaches for the developed India vision 2020 and how fast they can realize these missions in quality and quantity.

Voter's responsibility

Every citizen has got a role to choose the right representative to the Parliament and Legislatures, whose vision is that of national development and who has the concern for his/her constituency and the people. The right to vote is the greatest power given by the democracy to you, so that you can reinforce further democratic values. I would like to appeal to all eligible voters to exercise their franchise without fail, fear or favour. Large voter turn out will be the first step towards realization of developed India 2020, and the second step would be to become enlightened righteous citizens.

"Movement" by young citizens

Which is the starting point, for the character evolution in the nation? Dear citizens, let me share with you an incident, which took place somewhere in Nagaland. I was talking to a group of 600 persons consisting of young children, their parents and teachers. The topic I selected was the knowledge society, foundation for a developed India. One boy who was studying in 10th class, asked me, "Mr. President, tell me is it possible for a nation to get transformed into a developed country, when there is corruption everywhere?" This question greatly upset the many faces of the experienced generation. I said that, "the question was beautiful and I must answer". Fortunately, the boy's parents and teachers were sitting by his side. I asked both, "Do you have an answer?" They said, "Mr. President, he shouldn't have asked such a question, which is beyond his age. Please ignore it, sir". How can I ignore such a valuable mind? I must answer. My answer was the following. 

We can create any number of laws in the country. No law can remove corruption fully. However there are only three members of the society, who can remove corruption. I call it as a "Three dimensional action" plan. Who are these three members? They are father, mother and elementary school teacher. In this connection, I would like to recall a famous statement from Vedic Guru, who said "You give me a child for seven years - after that, no God or devil can change the child". That is the power of the teacher. 

My dear young friends, when you hear my national broadcast, please ask yourself a question, what can be the greatest contribution that the youth can give without disturbing their academic pursuit. You have to commence a silent revolution for removal of corruption by rightly reforming those who go against righteousness in your families. You all must endeavour to make the home you live, beautiful and righteous. You definitely have the power on your parents to do so, with love and affection. 

Dear Citizens, now I would like to administer an oath for the youth which I would like the youths to repeat with me now, wherever you are. Are you ready?

Ten point oath for the youth of the nation

1. I will pursue my education or the work with dedication and I will excel in it.

2. From now onwards, I will teach at least 10 persons to read and write those who cannot read and write.

3. I will plant at least 10 saplings and shall ensure their growth through constant care.

4. I will visit rural and urban areas and permanently wean away at least 5 persons from addiction and gambling.

5. I will constantly endeavor to remove the pain of my suffering brethren.

6. I will not support any religious, caste or language differentiation.

7. I will be honest and endeavour to make a corruption free society. 

8. I will work for becoming an enlightened citizen and make my family righteous.

9. I will always be a friend of the mentally and physically challenged and will work hard to make them feel normal, like the rest of us.

10. I will proudly celebrate the success of my country and my people.


India is very fortunate to have 540 million youth out of a billion people. We are doing well in agriculture, our industry is on the upswing and our performance in the services sector is also equally good. Time has now come for us to make our country, righteous. Righteousness comes out of good character. The evolution of good character leads to harmony in home. Harmony in home brings the people of the state to become enlightened citizens. Enlightened citizens lead the planet earth to be a peaceful world. 

Let us rededicate ourselves on this occasion of the 55th Republic Day to work towards making India a prosperous, happy and secure nation, with smile on billion faces. 

Almighty, the God is with us. 

Jai Hind