Former President was in Kochi to inaugurate silver jubilee celebrations of Cochin Special Economic Zone

Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has called for innovative and out-of-the-box solutions at a time when the world and the country are impacted by the global economic crisis.

Delivering the inaugural address at a function organised to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of the Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) here on Friday, Mr. Kalam emphasised the need to develop new product ideas and processes, which can be created, among others, by indigenous talents in collaboration and competition with the world’s best contributors.

He said that SEZs can contribute in unique ways to the development profile both in specific product development in our core areas, innovations in technologies and human resource development besides contributing to infrastructure growth and welfare of local communities.

In this context, Mr. Kalam put forward five suggestions before the CSEZ, topped with tripling the industrial production of the State in the next five years and better connectivity with academic institutions for research, collaboration in product development and feedback to academic institutions for updating curriculum.

Developing export-oriented green industries, skill development of the youth towards industrialisation and capacity building, and creating an industrial eco-system targeting the global market that will enhance the per capita income of the State made up the rest of the suggestions to the CSEZ for accelerating industrial growth.

Mr. Kalam foresaw the possibilities of creating new markets by leveraging rural potential and employment, which may lead to interesting possibilities of public-private-citizen partnerships and international partnerships.

He said that the Indian economy has to be built on its five core strengths to put the growth around 10 per cent per annum, which, he said is needed to achieve a developed India envisioned by him by 2020. Mr. Kalam listed out the liberalisation process in India that has its checks and balances consistent with the unique social requirements of the country; the conservative banking system that helped ward off a crisis; the Indian psyche rooted in savings and living within one’s means; and the purchasing power of the 400 million-strong middle class that lends stability to the economy; among the core strengths of the country.

Delving on innovation, Mr. Kalam said the better the innovation, better would be the knowledge-building and wealth-generation capacity that would lead to economic prosperity of the State and the nation.

He drew a link between innovation and competitiveness basing his theory on the country’s 64th rank in the global innovation index report and 59th rank in the global competitiveness index (GCI) for 2012-13.

Mr. Kalam batted for sustainable competitiveness, which reflects the search for a development model that would balance economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social sustainability.

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