Emphasising on the need for building up a knowledge-based, industrially and intellectually progressive India, taking on the global challenges, the Government is now planning to set up a Knowledge Commission. Sharing his plans for the National Knowledge Commission, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said the commission would work for innovations and rejuvenation of India’s knowledge sector. The PM paid a visit to Kolkata to inaugurate the CII Partnership Summit 2005 on Wednesday.
“I have decided to create a National Knowledge Commission to strengthen the roots and sinews of our capacity and capability building so that we are better prepared for the challenges of the 21st Century,” the PM said, observing the potential that the country’s knowledge utilities treasured could act as a catalyst for driving economic growth.
Dwelling on the agenda of the proposed commission, Singh shared that it would be shaped by a knowledge pentagon with five areas for action – to increase access to knowledge for public benefit; develop new concepts of higher education; rejuvenate science and technology institutions; enable application of knowledge by industry to enhance manufacturing competitiveness; encourage intensive use of knowledge-based services by Government to empower citizens.
Through the National Knowledge Commission, the Government would encourage industry-oriented alliances and interactions between educational institutions and businesses. Singh stressed on the objective of building world-class education centres and using IT in improving India’s stand in the services sector. “We must become not merely a knowledge producing society but a knowledge-sharing and knowledge-consuming society,” he said.
While addressing a confluence of business heavyweights from across the country, visiting business delegations from the UK, China and South Asian countries and a number of foreign Government representatives, at the National Library grounds in Kolkata, the Prime Minister urged business leaders as well as political and intellectual leaders to share the objective and work with the proposed Knowledge Commission to build a more open society and more open economy.
Towards transforming India into a global power, the UPA Government supremo promised to offer an open, caring economy where marginalized would be empowered to become a partner in the development. “The era of incrementalism is over. We cannot afford to just do things better. We need to do things differently. The challenge before us — in economic policy, in social policy, in education policy, in foreign policy — is to think out of the box and to think anew, afresh and ahead,” said the PM.
The Wednesday morning saw Singh making promise that the Government would continue working towards a more favourable environment, wooing foreign investments in different sectors of the proposed knowledge economy. It was the same day that the Central Government eased the foreign investment regulations by abolishing a restrictive rule that required foreign firms obtain permission from their joint-venture partners in India for setting up a related enterprise.
Famed as 'Press Note 18' of 1998, the regulation was considered as a stumbling block in the way of attracting foreign direct investment. Press Note 18 was designed to protect the interest of Indian enterprises after some overseas partners broke the league and formed standalone businesses in the same field. Announcing the Government decision to do away with the regulatory act, Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, declared that Press Note 18 would not be applicable to joint ventures entered into from Wednesday.
For one of the four fastest growing economies of the world, abolition of the regulatory act is being seen as a positive step towards drawing investors towards its enormous growth potential. The UPA Government-led India has been aggressively trying to attract foreign investments to achieve the projected eight-per cent annual growth rate. The country is aiming to clinch FDI to the tune of $ 10 billion a year from the current figure of $ 3-4 billion.