India's knowledge sector great opportunity for NRIs: Pitroda

India's knowledge sector great opportunity for NRIs: Pitroda

Indian-Canadian MP Ruby Dhalla talks with Sam Pitroda, former Chairman of National Knowledge Commission during the inaugural session of 8th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas - 2010 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

"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."

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