Former President A P J Abdul Kalam said on Wednesday the country's economic growth should always be guided by 'national prosperity index' that includes components like improvement of quality of life and adoption of a value system derived from our ancient civilisation besides GDP.
"The country's GDP is growing at nine per cent. But it is evident that economic growth is not fully reflected in the quality of life of people, especially of those in the rural areas and even in urban areas," he said at the inauguration of 'Odyssey 2007', a festival organised by Bhopal School of Social Sciences.
"All our efforts in improving economic performance should be guided by the national prosperity index of the nation."
"The NPI is a summation of GDP growth, improvement of quality of life of people living below the poverty line and adoption of value system derived from our civilisational heritage in every walk of life," he stated.
Apart from ensuring availability of housing, good water, nutrition, proper sanitation, quality education and healthcare and employment, thrust should be given to promote spirit of working together, leading a righteous life, removing social inequities and above all promoting a 'conflict-free harmonious society', the ex-President said.
"This will be indicated in peace in families and communities, reduction in court cases, elimination of violence against wome and children and communal tensions."
Thrust should be given to a progressive reduction in number of people living below the poverty line leading to it becoming zero by 2020, Kalam said.
Later, replying to queries of students, Kalam said he chose to become President as he wanted to "market the development roadmap of India 2020'.
"I was teaching at that time when the roadmap for india was evolved.., a Professor in Annamalai University. When the opportunity (for the post of President) came, I thought I can market India 2020 plan..., I marketed it to Parliament."
To a query about reservation in educational institutions, he said the only solution was to increase the number of seats to such an extext so as to "make reservation irrelevant".
The "missile man" said he strongly believed in presence of extra terrestrial life. "Definitely we are not abone. We are not the only ones privileged," the noted scientist said in reply to another question.
"There may be a better civilisation (on another plant). Only distance and time prohibit us from knowing it," he said, adding "I believe with passing time we will come to know that we are not alone."
Asking students to take up specialised diploma courses, Kalam asked them to become great leaders "who do not act as managers, but mentors, who do not demand respect, but inculcate self-respect among their followers".