2.5 lakh panchayats to be connected through broadband

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New Delhi: Empowering villagers to get better services, about 250,000 panchayats would be connected through fibre optics and broadband connections within the next couple of years, Advisor to the Prime Minister and telecom czar Sam Pitroda said on Friday.

"Our goal is to provide fibre to 250,000 panchayats. We have a plan in collaboration with BSNL, RAILTEL DoT, IT Ministry etc. Pretty soon we will have a detail plan which will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval," Pitroda, who is the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Infrastructure, Innovation and Information, said.

The connectivity will not only improve delivery of government schemes but will also empower people, he said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here.

As the Chairman of National Knowledge Commission, he wished the recommendations of the commission "should have been implemented earlier".

"It has been delayed a little bit," he added.

The NKC, which was set up by the Prime Minister in 2005 with the mandate to suggest measures to transform the country into a knowledge society, has made several path-breaking recommendations, including a regulatory authority for education and setting up of 1,500 universities.

Pitroda also felt that with the changing times, teachers` role must change.

"Role of teachers must change. It cannot be the way it has been in the past. Teachers will have to be more of a mentor. I don`t think the way we are thinking today is sustainable globally," he said.

He said students should also have access to the best of the teachers globally and acquire knowledge relevant to the present time.

Eminent professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh, speaking at the function, suggested the Indian diaspora should also be involved in policy formulation relating to the education sector.

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