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Uniform Civil Code essential: Kalam

September 29, 2003 19:48 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam on Monday said the Uniform Civil Code was essential for a country like India with a billion people.

The President's comments on the Uniform Civil Code came during an interactive session with school children in Chandigarh.

Stressing on the need to make India a developed nation by 2020, he hailed the launch of INSAT-3E on Sunday as another milestone in the country's space communication.

He said India's Moon Mission and Mars exploration would be another area where success would be achieved.

"We have to make India economically strong, technologically advanced and prosperous," Kalam said.

Asked what was the most important thing that would help India earn a place among the world's developed countries, he said education for all and employment generation were the key factors.

"Education, particularly girls' education, is very important We must also generate employment for several of our unemployed. I believe these are the two most important factors," he said.

The cost of education has to come down to make it affordable for all, the President said.

On the reservation policy, he explained to the students, drawn from 120 schools in the Union Territory, that in the Constitution there is a provision that certain people need help.

"I believe in due course of time merit will have to play an important role," he added.

Special schools where computer education can be imparted to physically challenged children should come up immediately, Kalam said responding to a question by a blind student.

To another question, he said there was a law to deal with child labour. "Child labour is a crime. Many governmental and social organisations are working in this direction," he said.

The President also called for a movement to curb corruption in society and said, "You can make any number of laws to remove corruption but only three people -- father, mother and teacher -- have a great role to play to put an end to this menace."

Urging the students to develop curiosity and thinking power, he said, "Thinking is progress. Non-thinking is stagnation to the individual, organisation and the country. Thinking leads to action..."

Talking of his association with his guru Dr Vikram Sarabhai, he recalled a student in Kochi asking him to select one achievement that provided him happiness and contentment.

He said the most joyous occasion was when Dr Sarabhai asked him to build India's first satellite and when he finally succeeded in putting it into orbit.

The next most joyous occasion was when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced this year of India's 2020 plan -- to make the country a developed one, he added.

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