Bangalore: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on 7 June stressed the need for creating an “enabling environment” where knowledge workers are accorded the highest respect and recognition in the country.
He said the country could aspire to be a knowledge centre only when its knowledge workers like researchers, scientists and teachers were held in high esteem.
Delivering the keynote address at Bio 2007, a three-day biotech event here, he said the critical need of the hour is human resources. Though the states may spend on primary and secondary education, real breakthroughs are achieved by people who have access to higher education and have the opportunity to conduct research.
The value of teachers, researchers and scientists could not be undermined in a country that is hoping to grow as a knowledge society, he noted.
Both the government and private sector need to build the quality of human resources by ensuring that they are retained in the country and also weaned back to India from abroad, he said.
Speaking about Bangalore he said that from being known as the IT capital of the country, it should now aspire to become the knowledge capital of India.
‘ Slow farm growth a worry’
Sluggish agriculture growth is a concern even as the overall economy expands at a fast pace, Chidambaram said.
Nearly two-thirds of India’s more than a billion people depend on the farm sector for their livelihood, but agriculture contributes only about 18% of India’s gross domestic product.
“We are today a trillion dollar economy. However, we are concerned about the slow rate of growth of agriculture,” the finance minister said.
India’s economy grew 9.4% in the fiscal year that ended in March, its fastest rate in 18 years. But agriculture grew just 2.7%, while services expanded 11% and industry rose 10.9%.
The production of wheat and rice has remained stagnant for the past 10 years, Chidambaram said.