Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Text of the Lecture by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam : On Leadership- Read till last sentence......


Address and interaction with the

Engineers and Staff of Tata Motors, Pune

29 July 2008    

Automobile vision 2020:

Internationally competitive Indian automobile system


"There are many Everests in the life of man.

It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves".  

Dear Friends, When I am with the TATA institution, I realize that you are born out of a vision. A great vision by a great soul in the early 20th century. Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata laid the foundation for three important areas.  The first was the sowing of seeds for TATA Iron and Steel Plant, second to create hydro-electric power station, third was establishment of an educational and research institute popularly known as TATA institute now   Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.  Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata,  envisioned all these institutions in early 20th century (May 1904); the IISc-Bangalore opened its doors in 1911; The first ingot of steel rolled out from Tata Iron and Steel Plant in 1912;  The hydro-electric power was switched on in Mumbai in 1915.  Today, we see all these three institutions flourishing and what a contribution they have made to the national scene  IISc has become a world class branded institution.  Tata Steel has crossed the nine million tons per year steel output.   The Tata Hydro Electric Station has given birth to many power plants in the country.. Tata's vision has brought a revolution in steel industry, power generation and education. I admire this great visionary, a visionary revolutionist who evolved a new method of working towards India's freedom through development of industry, power and scientific research.   The light he lit in our country has lit many lamps and is still lighting.

Let me congratulate everyone in the Tata institutions.

During my visit to Europe and US cities, while traveling in their high ways, with cars of multiple nations whizzing past at 100-110 kms, dear friends, a dream always comes to me.  I want to see the Indian designed car, Indian manufactured car flying in multiple numbers in multiple nations. When will it happen? How to make it possible? Certainly, Tata has a great opportunity because of your visionary approach, core competence and innovative spirit.

When I am with you all, I would like to discuss the dynamics of automobile enterprises and particularly Automobile vision 2020: internationally competitive Indian automobile system  

TATA's contribution to Automobile sector

. Tata Motors has made history in the past many times. Well known commercial truck making company has shown the world that it can make      customer friendly passenger cars . In recent years, the indigenously designed Tata Indica has brought a brand image to India in the Automobile sector.   Launch of Indica in 1998and launch of ACE in 2005 have been important milestones in the country's prowess in automobile sector.

Launch of innovative Nano in 2008 is an another important milestone in the world of Indian automotive industry. I would like to greet the TATA team for this singular contribution.

Integrated Capacities

My view is: the growth of automotive industry is powered by competitiveness. Competitiveness is powered by intensive knowledge in multiple fields. Intensive knowledge is powered by technology and innovation. I would like to suggest the TATA Team, to launch a world- wide marketing campaign for NANO and also plan to start multiple manufacturing centers in India and abroad, so that TATA can graduate from the present production of 2,18,000 (all types of passenger vehicles) to 1 Million NANO cars alone in a suitable product mix by the year 2015.  In a globally competitive environment, you have to continuously trigger innovations which will capture the global market.  You have to meet the multiple users needs in different countries with widely varying climatic conditions,  achieving high gradient climbing capability, passenger comfort, safety needs, ease of maintenance and affordability. I would suggest TATA Motors to use their system design capacity, system integration capacity, system management capacity, manufacturing capacity and above all innovative marketing methodology in an integrated manner to produce a globally competitive passenger vehicle system.  You need to evolve this combination in an integrated way, so that million car production can be made possible. For that, what you need to do, is, thinking differently and acting differently with innovative leadership.

Suitable infrastructure for future automobiles

Whenever I meet young people they ask me thought provoking  questions, that is: with Nano car coming on the road and becoming affordable for large number of people,. in that situation what will happen to the road traffic congestion? What will be the pollution level increase? What will be its effect on parking problem? When I hear these types of questions, I thought of sharing with you one experience:

When I visited Dubai – UAE in 2003, I met the Ruler of Dubai. He said that Dubai is planning to increase the tourist arrival by five times. Once this decision was taken, I found, that the aviation minister was planning for a new airport and also addition of new types of aircraft needed for attracting the tourists. The surface transport minister was planning a number of additional road lanes required in the highways. The works ministry was planning for increase in the hotel accommodation for accommodating the tourists without disappointment. The health ministry had a road map for waste management and a plan for providing the additional clean water needed. This was the type of integrated response that            I found in the whole government - a plan of action to fulfill the national objective from a single ministry's vision.  . We have to take the message coming out of this experience and plan for the multiple requirements simultaneously for promoting uninterrupted large volume car production and deployment. Your interdiciplinary team may have to study comprehensively various aspects like the loading on the already crowded high ways and city roads, parking facilities, complimentarity with public transport system and financing in affordable way and give valuable inputs to various specialist agencies.

Recyclable automobile systems

Dear friends, I would like to share with you a new development in the automotive industry reported in the book titled 'Pulse' by Robert Frenay, published in 2006.. Carmakers have a history of reclamation and reuse, which they're now expanding. A new sports car from BMW features a recyclable thermoplastic body that can be disconnected from its frame in twenty minutes. Audi has joined with Volkswagen and Preussag, the steel company, to set up a chain of auto-disassembly plants. With funding primarily from Ford, as well as from Xerox and GE Plastics, Carnegie Mellon University has developed ReStar – a software that analyzes disassembly tasks, McDonough and Braungart are working with Ford on another development, which has a goal to design a production model in which every material can eventually be reused. This technique apart from reducing the 'embodied energy' as in the case of construction industry will reduce the cost of the vehicle substantially and simultaneously reduce the pollution created by raw material manufacturing industry.  I am sure this development will be of considerable interest to automotive researchers, designers and industry leaders.  

Indian Automotive Industry

        During the last two decades, Indian Automobile Industry has taken long strides. After 1983, the standard of automotive technology has got redefined and Indian consumers are able to get what their western counterparts are getting.  I am also happy to note that many of Indian auto companies have started exporting their components to their original equipment manufacturers in the developed world.  In this respect, globalization has done a lot of good in the Indian automobile industry.  With the competitiveness arising out of globalization, our thinking has been refined resulting in enhancing our ability to face global competition through our core strength.  In India the vehicle production is increasing at about 17%.  While this is a welcome situation from the point of view of personnel and goods mobility, it has two major issues which have to be addressed: "environmental pollution and safety".  This has to be done innovatively while designing all our future cars.  

Innovation is the capital

I was studying the Global Competitiveness Report for the year 2007-08. There I find in terms of Growth Competitive Index ranking US is ranked 1, Switzerland is ranked 2, Finland is ranked 6, Singapore is ranked 7, China 34 and UAE 37 and India is 48.  Growth competitiveness is determined by the innovative ability of an organization. This innovation arises from institutional initiative and the R & D productivity of the firm, shaped by policies and nature of local institutions. National innovative capacity has to be the country's important potential for producing competitive products. I would like to suggest to the TATA team assembled here, to concentrate on the following design criteria for competing in the national and international market:

1.          Work towards highest fuel efficiency for a given class of engine and car sizing.

2.           Work towards fossil fuel free automobile of the future: (a) solar power + fuel cell (b) electric (c) ethanol or bio-diesel (d) hydrogen

3.          Continuously aim to decrease the overall weight of the automobile systems enabling higher payload capability through state of the art structural design.

4.          Designing the power plant to accept 100% bio-fuel, ethanol and emulsified fuel. 

5.          Design to cost and quality

6.     Design of safety systems for providing high-level passenger Safety.

7.     Constantly increasing the electronics, communication and control in the automobile systems for realizing high reliability, self-healing and fail-safe system.

8.     Robotic Car 

I realize that all the eight criteria are interconnected. Here I would like to emphasize that winner in the automobile industry will be the one who puts the automobile to run with 100% bio-fuel first in the market. It can be seen in Brazil the gas stations have provisions for various mixes of biofuel and ethanol including 100% biofuels. Automobile plying in Brazil roads have to get the design certification for using maximum biofuel and bio-diesel. Without that, they will not be permitted in run on Brazil roads. We should take note of the successful implementation of such programme in different parts of the world.  

Automobile Research areas

Now, let me discuss some of the research areas where automobile scientists and engineers have to concentrate.

a.           Improvement in Combustion Efficiency: For getting better control and precision over combustion and emission, we have to work on direct injection of gasoline for better exhaust characteristics.  Gasoline direct injection permits combustion of ultra-clean fuel air mixtures under diverse operating conditions and hence can deliver higher performance with lower fuel consumption and lower emission.

b.          Improvement in Diesel Engines:  One of the important aspect of diesel engines is, the NOx and particulate matter in the emission which has to be overcome by use of advanced combustion technologies which will reduce both.  Indian Automotive Engineers have to work on this area and offer the system for use in all types of diesel vehicles. 

c.           Alternate Fuels: While it is important, to continuously improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines, scientists have to concentrate on development of alternate fuels and renewable energy sources.  The future generation cars and trucks have to use bio-diesel, ethanol and hydrogen.  Bio-fuels are renewable and can be produced in short notice as against fossil fuels which have been produced over millions of years.

d.          Emulsified Fuels: Emulsified fuels are found to give much better emission reduction towards reduced particulate and Oxides of Nitrogen emission reduction along with fuel saving that it is now implemented in most of the developed countries. In India, we are now successfully burning in a boiler in an industry emulsified diesel fuel with 25% water straight away saving 25% of the diesel fuel.. The emulsified fuel costs 20% cheaper than the diesel fuel. If one such small boiler using emulsified fuel can save 40 litres of diesel in a day and equivalent amount of cash spent on the fuel, please think about the huge fuel savings and the cost benefits for over thousands of boilers and several external fired equipments running with oil in India. The savings for the country in oil import bill will be over 20% the present level. While combusting emulsified fuels for industrial firing needs no modifications it needs encouragement and educating the users. For automobile applications, TATA Need to work with Hydro drive emulsification technology and IIT Madras to experiment and introduce the emulsified fuels in the Diesel cars and diesel vehicles.  Emulsified fuels will cut emissions and will bring down the operating costs including captive power generation costs. This singular research area alone has the potential to make TATA Motors to produce and market the most competitive commercial and passenger vehicle within the next two years.

e.           Hydrogen powered fuel cells: Hydrogen powered vehicles are almost zero emission vehicles.  We have to progressively move into fuel cell vehicles within a few decades.  

f.            Alternative Power Plants: Substantial research is required in battery technology to provide a reliable, low-weight, high density and cost effective battery to the large Indian rural population.  Simultaneously, there is a need to work on hybrid electric vehicle for containing the growing environmental emission in big cities. Challenge for researchers will be in the development of drives, control electronics, transmission and low weight high capacity batteries.

g.           CNT Based Solar PV Cells: Our scientists have to take up this challenge and come up with the development of a CNT based PV cell with an efficiency of at least 50% within the next three years so that it can go into the commercial production within five years.   In addition, they can also take up the development of organic solar cells, dye-sensitized solar cells and third generation solar cells.   The automobile specialists should work with these energy experts to get the solar cells with 50% efficiency which can be effectively used in solar power driven vehicles.


Dear friends, I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Space programme of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) , AGNI programme of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course, these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in all these three areas.  I want to convey to you what I have learnt on leadership from these three programmes.

1.          Leader must have a vision. 

2.          Leader must have a passion to transform the vision into action. 

3.          Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path. 

4.          Leader must know how to manage a success and failure. 

5.          Leader must have courage to take decisions. 

6.          Leader should have Nobility in management.

7.          Every action of the leader should be transparent.  

8.          Leader must work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

In order to achieve what I have discussed so far and to realize the goals in a specified time frame and to build TATA Motors brand, what we need is creative leadership.   Creative leadership means exercising the vision to change the traditional role from the commander to the coach, manager to mentor, from director to delegator and from one who demands respect to one who facilitates self-respect. For a non-linear growth in the Automobile Sector and transforming India into a world leader in the production and marketing of energy efficient, highly mobile, pollution free, safe and cost effective automotive system before the year 2020, the industry needs large number of creative leaders.  I am sure, TATA Motors has such leaders who will transform TATA Motors into a one million passenger car per annum producer with 50% going to export market.  For that leaders of this organisation should have courage.


Courage to think different,

Courage to invent,

Courage to travel into an unexplored path,

Courage to discover the impossible,

Courage to combat the problems

and succeed,

Are the unique qualities of the youth.


As a youth of my nation,

I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all the missions.

May God bless you.


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