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Be guided by aspirations of youth: Kalam


New Delhi : The aspirations of the youth to live in a prosperous and safe India should be the guiding factor of every profession, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said in his last address to the nation as President Tuesday. He urged that the country's rich culture be preserved for the coming generations.

"The aspirations of the young to live in a prosperous, safe and proud India should be the guiding factor in whatever profession we contribute," Kalam said in his address, delivered a day before demitting office.

Pointing out that the country was blessed with hard working people, especially by the power of its 540 million youth, Kalam, who has a special affection for students and youth, said: "Even while pursuing our economic growth, we need to do a lot to preserve the rich and diverse treasures of our culture and civilisation. It is our duty for our future generations. This has to be done in a much larger scale through countrywide participation of multiple institutions."

Kalam, 76, leaves Rashtrapati Bhavan Wednesday after president-elect Pratibha Patil takes oath.

The technocrat president said the country should focus on acceleration of development, empower villages and rural youth, improve agricultural growth by focussing on providing seeds to produce food, "overcome problems through partnership", "combat calamities with courage", "improve connectivity for societal transformation", "defend the country with pride" and foster a youth movement for a developed India in 2020.

The scientist president stressed on the need for doubling "agricultural production with reduced land, reduced water resources and reduced manpower" to improve the economic conditions of the nation.

"We should empower the farmers to protect and nurture the fertile land for a second green revolution," he said in the address that was televised throughout the country.

Kalam, who has made public his vision for a developed India in 2020, said it could be achieved only when the divide between rural and urban India becomes a thin line, when quality drinking water is distributed equally, education is available to everyone overcoming caste barriers, illiteracy is eradicated and the best health care is available to everyone.

India can achieve developed country status when "the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption free", when crimes against women and children are absent and no society feels alienated, he stressed.

India should be "a nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path", and "a nation that is one of the best places to live in and is proud of its leadership" by 2020, he said.

Kalam, who had an eventful five-year tenure during which he earned the sobriquet 'people's president', also remembered his "beautiful" days in the palatial Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"Today, it is indeed a thanks-giving occasion. I would like to narrate, how I enjoyed every minute of my tenure enriched by the wonderful association from each one of you, hailing from different walks of life, be it politics, science and technology, academics, arts, literature, business, judiciary, administration, local bodies, farming, home makers, special children, media and above all from the youth and student community who are the future wealth of our country," he said.

He also recalled his visit to Siachen glacier, located at 17,000 feet and held by the Indian Army, a memorable underwater journey aboard INS Sindhurakshak and his flight in a Sukhoi-30 fighter as the supreme commander of the armed forces during his tenure.