India needs to be knowledge driven: Kalam

"It is necessary for India to raise annual growth rate to ten per cent for the next ten years from the present level of about eight per cent in order to become economically strong and advanced," Kalam said at a function at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here.

However, only economic progress would not be able to bring development without good citizens, he said adding, people of the country must be endowed with virtues, courage, knowledge and righteousness.

"In a globalising world where knowledge is the source of power for nation and societies, the role of leadership in all dimensions is very significant," Kalam said when speaking on "Dynamics of Leadership and its Characteristics."

The world in the 21st century would be a knowledge-based society with multiple opportunities naturally in India and we have to become knowledge driven, he said stressing that "What worked yesterday, will not work today."

Referring to the role of leadership in a knowledge society, Kalam said while natural resources defined power in the past, now knowledge has become the source of power.
"Therefore, leadership should empower itself with knowledge," he said.

Similarly, hierarchy was the model in the past, synergy is the mandate today, he said.

With rapid developments taking place all over, leadership would enrich itself through exposure to the needs of sustainable development, Kalam said.

Today's leaders empower and coach unlike their predecessors, who generally commanded and controlled, he said, adding now leadership should inculcate sensitivity to the needs of all the stake-holders.

"Earlier the shareholders came first, but now the customers come first," he said, adding that the present day leadership should promote team spirit, innovative practices and creativity and work with integrity.

Giving examples of leadership from political system, technological centres, societal development, Kalam said these leaders possessed unique qualities like ethics with courage, nobility in management, compassion and conflict free society and transparency.
Describing Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela as great political leaders with ethics and courage, he said both indeed transformed India and South Africa into independent and democratic nations.

Underlining the need for transparency, Kalam cited the example of Delhi Metro Rail Project to explain how transparency of leadership facilitated the successful and on-time completion of the two billion dollar project.

Addressing the students of an international school, the former president asked them to decide their aim and what they want to become before they attain the age of 17.

Since students have to play a significant role in nation building, they must work hard to achieve their goals and dreams and should refrain from leaving any work mid-way, Kalam said.

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