The former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Saturday said that educating women would help the country in controlling its population growth.

Fielding queries from students of Mount Carmel College here, the former President said population was found to be “manageable” in the States where literacy among women was higher than the rest of the country.

Dr. Kalam counted Kerala, Mizoram and Tamil Nadu among the States with high literacy rate among women and said the growth of population in these States was also under control. “In the States where women are educated, population is found to be less,” he said in reply to Romila, a student, who wanted to know how the country’s population can be controlled without hurting the religious sentiments of the people.

Replying to another question on the fairness of carbon trading regime, Dr. Kalam said the pollution caused by developed countries may be 6 to 12 per cent more than the developing countries. With India buying $ 100 billion of fossil fuel every year, there was every possibility of the country matching the pollution levels caused by developed countries in the coming years, he added.

However, he felt that India should rely more on solar and nuclear energy and bio-fuel to meet its energy requirements. “India should become energy independent,” Dr. Kalam said.

To a question on producing clean energy, the former President quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said the country was aiming at producing 20,000 MW of solar power by 2030. He said, with a note of regret, that thermal power accounted for 60 per cent of India’s total power generation of 150,000 MW. Hydro power accounted for 20 to 30 per cent.

When Kavya, a second B.Sc. student, asked the former President about the future of the space programme in the world, Dr. Kalam said the challenge before the nations involved in it was to bring down the cost of satellite launch. “To put 1 kg into orbit, we have to spend $ 20,000 now. We have to bring down the cost to $ 2,000 so that we can have more communication transponders and remote sensing satellites,” he said.

Earlier, Dr. Kalam advised the students to seek inspiration from women such as Mother Teresa, who selflessly served the poor and needy, and Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, who planted more than 40 million trees.

Keywords: EducationWomen