Innovation imperative for growth of nation: CNR Rao

Last Updated 15 March 2019, 17:51 IST

"Innovation is required for the growth of the country. Without innovations, no country can become a leader," said National Research Professor C N R Rao.

He was addressing the gathering via video conference, during the 'Indian Higher Education Summit-2019', on the theme 'Innovation in Education for a Competent Industry', organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, here on Friday.

Rao informed that the United States stands number one in the world in science and technology, because of various innovations by scientists and others. "Trillions of dollars are spent in terms of investment, to promote innovations in science and technology," he added.

He said that science and technology is the foundation for the future India.

"We have to support science and technology, education and efforts made for innovations. We should provide better opportunities for innovation, an opportunity for better education," he added.

Rao said, "India is the country with the largest number of children in the world, nearly up to 70 million. But, India's investment in education is just 3.5% of the GDP."

"The Prime Minister who will revolutionise education and reduce the load on children in education, through the right policies and investment, will not be forgotten. If we are interested in the future of India, industries should not invest just to make goods or just to have good bright engineers, but should work towards the welfare of future generations," he said.

Lack of skilled workers

Chairman of CII-Karnataka N Muthukumar said, "India has triggered the economic growth from 11th to 6th place in the last eight years. "India is aspiring to become the third largest economy in the world by 2027. Every industry is short of skilled workers. Every industry is losing about 10% to 15% of their productivity or sales because they don't have the right people at the right time," he said.

"If we look at the last 20 years. Out of 100 top companies, in the world, during the 1990s, only seven companies exist at present. Out of 100 top companies in 2000, only 45 exist. The companies which did not work on innovations, focus on the customer, so they are existing. Moreover, Indians heads 70 out of 100 top companies in the world at present," Muthukumar said.

He said that 90% of people go for jobs after an under-graduation and the people who go for higher education, fly out of the country. "This should change and people should stay back after higher education for the growth of the country. If the country focuses more on manufacturing similar to services, India will become a superpower in 2027," he added.

Educated policymakers

Former minister B K Chandrashekar opined that the political representatives, who are the policymakers, should be educated in science, technology and innovations. The policymakers are little empowered to choose the options from educational innovations.

He said, the UGC was set up to provide grants to the universities without direct intervention of the government. "The UGC was meant to be a buffer between the government and universities. But, soon it became a domesticated animal. It lost its freedom. All governments so far have been controlling the education sector. Public funding institutions should stay away from day to day affairs and academic freedom should be provided to universities," he said.

(Published 15 March 2019, 16:57 IST)

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