Brain power will design Indias future, says Manmohan

New Delhi, Aug 2 | Updated: Aug 3 2005, 05:30am hrs
Indias place in the world will be determined by its brain power, not by the military or economic powers, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while launching the newly constituted National Knowledge Commission here on Tuesday. Brain power should certainly be reflected in a countrys economic competitiveness as well as military prowess, he said.

India is in a demographic transition and in the next few decades India will probably have the worlds largest pool of young people. It will be our advantage, especially in a situation where China and countries of South East Asia face the phenomenon of ageing population, the Prime Minister said.

However, the Prime Minister said, the youth can be an asset only if we invest in their capabilities. The task ahead is at many levels - from primary schools to higher education and research institutions of national excellence. There are, of course, fiscal and administrative challenges to be tackled. Besides, there are intellectual and leadership issues to be addressed boldly, he said.

The fund constraint in the public sector is being neutralised only in part by the private sector. Even the public and private sectors together are not able to cope with the demand for higher and professional education.

The Prime Minister also cautioned, Our universities and centers of excellence are falling behind the best in the world, in terms of human capital and also in terms of physical infrastructure.

Mr Singh said the legal and physical infrastructure should be put in place in order to attract more foreign investment in R&D activity in India.

While assuring all support to the Knowledge Commission, Mr Singh said he was looking forward for various suggestions on increasing the countrys knowledge base. He said he would like the commission to come forward with bold proposals aimed at improving excellence in research and teaching, especially in frontier areas of science and technology.