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Prime Minister's Office12-January, 2007 19:9 IST
|PRIME MINISTER RELEASES NKC’S REPORT TO THE NATION 2006
LAUNCHES INDIA WATER AND ENERGY PORTALS
|The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh today released the National Knowledge Commission’s Report to the Nation 2006 and also launched India Water Portal and India Energy Portal conceived by it at a function here this evening. The Chairperson, National Knowledge Commission, Shri Sam Pitroda, Deputy Chairperson, Planning Commision, Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Members of the National Knowledge Commission were among the dignitaries present on the occasion. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion:
“I am happy to launch two Portals conceived by the National Knowledge Commission. We constituted this Commission because we believe that the greatest challenge facing us in India is the challenge of building the capabilities of our people. For too long have we viewed the size of our population as an economic and social liability. However, an educated, skilled, healthy, empowered people are an asset. The challenge before us is to ensure that each and every citizen of India is an asset.
We need both financial investment as well as creative thinking in addressing this challenge. As I said at the time when we created this Commission, we have to invest in the capabilities of our people at every level of the knowledge pyramid. We have to strengthen the base and energise the apex of our social and knowledge pyramid. While the Government has to find the financial resources, creative thinking must come from all sides. It is with this objective in mind that I constituted the Knowledge Commission.
In our public debate, the real challenge is to change mindsets and seek creative means of building a knowledge-based society and economy. I am happy to see that you have addressed the major problem of the “bottom of the pyramid”, namely, access. Six of your ten recommendations deal directly with access. This is consistent with the objective of building an inclusive society, the guiding principle of our government.
I am also happy to see that you have provided a blueprint for reforming public libraries. This is vital to meeting the knowledge requirements of every segment of our society. You have also flagged the importance of an active translation system to facilitate the spread of knowledge. This can also generate substantial employment opportunities.
You have recommended a Knowledge Network connecting all universities and research institutes. There has to be a translation component to this as well. The idea of creating National Portals in all national languages is a welcome one. It can help create repositories of knowledge. Their utility will increase as internet penetration grows.
Our higher education system is in need of comprehensive reform. The Commission’s reports have many useful ideas for reforming higher education. These are all ideas that merit serious discussion. I would urge the Commission to take these ideas across the country and build consensus. The recommendations on vocational education merit immediate attention, given their relevance for expanding the employment potential of the economy.
I am happy to have launched today the India Water Portal and India Energy Portal developed by Arghyam and TERI, with support from the Commission. These portals are a good example of harnessing information technology to address complex, multi-stakeholder problems. The science of water use is critical to our food security. It is also vital to our health security. The lack of sanitation creates a public health crisis. Water availability and use have a gender dimension as well in our society. We are a water-rich country. So, the issue is not one of absolute scarcity, but one of management. We need to improve water management as it holds the key to addressing our water problems.
A host of developmental activities are being carried out in India in these sectors. However, there is a lack of assimilation and dissemination of such diffused activities. This underscores the need for sharing of information, and resources on a continued basis. I am happy that the National Knowledge Commission has taken the initiative to support the development of national web based portals on certain key sectors such as Water, Energy, Environment, Education, and Citizen Rights. This is a good example of using knowledge to address the real problems of our people.
In order to ensure that the benefits of these portals reach people, we need to ensure that the portals are available in all major Indian languages and that they address the practical needs of our citizens.
We look forward to more work from the Commission in the coming year, particularly on reforming our schools, promoting research, meeting the knowledge needs of agriculture and small and medium enterprises and facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship.
I must however reiterate that the Commission should not see its role only in terms of guiding reforms in government policy. The Commission must be involved in ensuring the implementation of their innovative ideas. It must finally serve as the lighthouse for society, showing the way forward in the knowledge century.”
(Release ID :24023)