India needs a development model for rural areas that will go well beyond agriculture, eminent scientist Anil Kakodkar said in Kolhapur on Friday. Addressing the 53rd convocation ceremony of the Shivaji University, he said that such a model will be capable of providing earnings comparable to urban areas over a much broader spectrum of activities including manufacturing and service segment.
“Luckily, the era of knowledge has brought in relevant opportunities in this context. Knowledge technologies support democratisation and decentralisation, enabling people in villages to take part in globally connected manufacturing and services activities.
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“There is thus no reason why rural income should not match or even exceed urban income, provided our higher education system can do capacity building of rural youth at scale and quality that is necessary,” the former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India said. He said, “IITs rank fourth in terms of producing the founders of start-ups (that are) worth over a billion dollars whereas India ranks first among countries that provide immigrant founders of billion dollar start-up companies in USA.”
“If this can happen at IITs and a few other institutions in the country then there is no reason why it cannot happen in most of our higher education institutions.” He opined the governance system that nurtures the necessary innovation in eco-system should be improved.
Pitching for the holistic learning environment, the nuclear scientist said, “A time tested way to facilitate a holistic learning environment is to link imparting of knowledge with socially useful productive work in our education institutions.
“Through this mode, education domain can simultaneously contribute to capable human resource as well as to new inputs for our society as well as our industry. Linking education and development would significantly enrich higher education.”
Kakodkar, who is the chairman of the Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission, also spoke about Cillage (an eco-system that incorporates the best of a city and a village – a model for development for rural India). Vice Chancellor Devanand Shinde also spoke at the function.