Reciting the “song of youth”, penned by him for school children, he called upon his countrymen to “work and sweat for a great vision, the vision of transforming India into a developed nation, powered by economic strength with value system”.
Mr Kalam identified cross-border terrorism, certain internal conflicts and unemployment as major challenges facing the country. “Along with speedy development aimed at elimination of poverty and unemployment, national security has to be recognised by every Indian as a national priority,” he said in his address.
Lamenting that in spite of being endowed with “natural resources, vibrant people and traditional value system”, most of the coutrymen are below the poverty line, undernourished and lacked primary education, he stressed that the aim should be “to empower them to be poverty free, healthy and literate”.
Recalling in this context, the Thirukkural, composed over 2,000 years ago, he said, “the important elements that constitute a nation are: being disease free; wealth; high productivity; harmonious living and strong defence”, adding, “all our efforts should be focussed towards building these five elements at various levels in a coherent and an integrated manner”.
Posing the question could the government alone achieve the vision of transforming the country into a developed nation, the President said, “we need a movement. This is the time to ignite the minds of the people for this movement. We cannot emerge as a developed nation if we do not learn to transact with speed”.
Leading chambers hailed the new President’s address. CII president Ashok Soota said, “the President put before us a new vision for the country transforming the country into a developed nation”.
Phdcc president Arun Kapur said, “his belief that the nation should be economically strong and self-reliant in technologies is very much relevant in today’s times.”
The 71-year old Kalam, was earlier sworn in by the Chief Justice BN Kirpal in the Central Hall of Parliament. After taking oath in the name of God, he exchanged seat with the outgoing President KR Narayanan.