Tap knowledge sector in India: Pitroda tells NRIs

By : |January 7, 2010 0

NEW DELHI, INDIA: India‘s knowledge sector offers a great window of opportunity to overseas Indians to join hands with the country in its high growth trajectory and invest in its future, technology evangelist Sam Pitroda said here Friday.

"Though the country recorded more than 7 percent growth over the last five years, the next challenge is inclusive growth," Pitroda said at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2010, India’s annual conclave to connect with its diaspora.

"We still have 300 million people in this country who cannot read and write. There is still a great deal of disparity in this country – disparity between rich and poor, urban and rural and educated and uneducated," he said.

"I request you to engage with India, knowing this is a great window of opportunity."

Speaking on "Diaspora: Role and Expectations" at a plenary session, Pitroda, regarded as the father of India’s telecom revolution, said it was imperative for the country to look at the future of its population below the age of 25 – who today number 550 million.

In this context, Pitroda recalled the five aspects of education Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looked at four years ago.

"These are: access to knowledge, producing teachers for the future, application of this knowledge, creation of knowledge and role of knowledge in governance," said the former chairman of India’s Knowledge Commission.

"We now plan to build 30 new national universities and 40 new innovation universities," Pitroda, also an advisor to prime minister, said, adding that the government has allocated $67 billion for education in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012).

According to him, all these offered a unique opportunity for overseas Indians to join hands in building new universities and working at these institutions, while also improving vocational education system in the county.

"We have to create a new Indian model."

Earlier, while inaugurating the Pravasi Bharati Divas, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said India has become one of the top investment destinations in the world but overseas Indians have remained conservative investors even though they are good savers.

He urged them to invest their savings in long-term opportunities for direct investment rather than keep their money in bank deposits. He hoped that the Overseas Investment Facilitation Centre (OIFC) would become an effective tool for channeling such investments.

(With inputs from CIOL)

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