Pitroda urges CMs to set up innovation councils

Vadodara: Advisor to the Prime Minister on public information, infrastructure and innovations, Sam Pitroda, on Sunday said that he has written to all the chief ministers in the country urging them to set up state level innovation councils, saying they were "necessary for developing a culture of innovations."

These councils should be set up on the lines of the National Innovation Council (NIC), he said.

He also underlined the need for innovations, saying that there was an "investment target of 20 billion USD to build public information infrastructure across the country."

Pitroda told this to PTI on the sidelines of a lecture series organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CCI)on the 20th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, at Hotel Gate Way here last night.

Pitroda added that union ministries have also been requested to set up departmental innovative councils.

The former chairman of the National Knowledge Commission also said that even though India was facing the challenges of 21st Century, it still had a mindset of the 19th Century.

"We need innovations in all the aspects of life, namely health, energy, governance, infrastructure, etc. There is no other way to face tomorrow," he said.

"The ways today`s children learn are completely different. With the advent of the information revolution and the Internet, the job of a teacher in providing content has become redundant and there is a huge teacher-student disconnect today," he added.

Pitroda said that connecting educational institutions with the industries was one way to move towards innovating things. He however lamented the lack of innovation by the industrial clusters including those in Rajkot, Surat and Agra.

Pitroda also informed that the NIC aimed to create a fund of one billion USD for the promotion of innovative ideas "for inclusive development in the country".

"The NIC will raise innovation centres in universities.

It has also collaborated with industrial associations including the CII and FICCI to identify innovation clusters in the country," Pitroda said.

He also pointed out that the proposal to set up National Library Commission has been pending before the Centre for the past 4 years.

"Existing 54,000 libraries across the country are almost closed and do not serve any purpose. Hence, there is a need to create an umbrella institution to deal with the entire libraries information service (LIS) sector rationally, that could later be converted into a permanent, independent and financially autonomous statutory commission on libraries," he added.

Pitroda, who was the technology advisor to the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi lauded his efforts to bring a telecom revolution in the country.

"Gandhi`s strong political backing helped him carry out telecommunication revolution in the country and telephone connection is now accessible to every one. Now, India is embarking upon second revolution of Rural Band connectivity," he said.