(MENAFN - Arab News) Sam pitroda adviser to the prime minister of india on public information infrastructure and innovations and the chairman of the national innovation council strongly believes that a knowledge-based economy is a key driver for growth and sustainable development.
pitroda was in riyadh to speak at the knowledge-based economy conference. in an exclusive interview with arab news on thursday he asserted 'a knowledge-based society is a key driver for socio-economic growth but the knowledge will have to be more accessible more relevant and localized."
he added that there is a dire need for transition of benefits to the less privileged and to redress their grievances by fulfilling their basic aspirations. he maintained however that it is a long-term process and society has to be open for development."
when asked about the changes he had witnessed from his earlier visit to the kingdom in the '70s pitroda observed 'the changes are very visible in every direction. the kingdom has seen massive growth in these years and saudi society is changing rapidly to accommodate and keep pace with the global development and be a part of it."
he added that the government was also utilizing its resources optimally to build infrastructure to develop the country.
pitroda who also served as chairman of the national knowledge commission in india (2005–2009) said that owing to the strong saudi-us relations primarily due to aramco and the energy sector the developments in the kingdom were us-centric and so the patterns of development may not be fulfilling local aspirations.
he observed that the developmental works in the kingdom are a reflection of the developmental patterns of the western countries and that saudi students who go to the west for higher studies are often reluctant to return home after completing their academic program.
therefore the kingdom has to change the pattern according to the local needs and requirements and the first and foremost initiative is to set up a knowledge city a free zone area dedicated to human resource development and learning excellence aiming to develop the region's talent pool and establish the kingdom as a knowledge-based economy.
he advocated for a paradigm shift along with the change in the physical infrastructure.
on cyber attack he said 'it has become a way of life in the global society." he added 'i am not condoning it but let's not get hung-up on it. one cannot stop moving forward just because there was such an attack."
asked about an alternative plan to achieve success pitroda said that there were many countries working in close partnership with the kingdom.
'india has a history of close ties with saudi arabia and there is a huge pool of talent in india which is not simply limited to it but across the different sectors" he said.
commenting on corruption in india he said 'it is being blown out of proportion by the media." he acceded that corruption was thriving in nearly all sectors of society globally.
on the controversial book by sanjaya baru 'the accidental prime minister: the making and unmaking of manmohan singh" he said that the book has political implications in the light of the ongoing elections in india. 'it is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain publicity and to exploit the situation for commercial gains" pitroda said.
he said baru has been accused by many of playing politics by launching the book in the election season and of aiming to make money by sensationalyzing the content.
commenting on the election and the media's role pitroda who is also the chairman of an expert committee set up to review the functioning of india's largest public broadcaster prasar bharati expressed concern about the media's role in india saying it is biased and that sometimes it acts at the behest of some people groups and ideologies.
earlier he had said the media which was otherwise more focused on cricket and bollywood rather than on development and nation building is deviating from the established protocol of objective reporting.
he added that public media is not in tune with the technological developments in the country.
pitroda expressed concern over the rising fascist tendencies in the country saying it is not good for the country and people should act wisely in this situation to protect the 'ideologies of our founding fathers."