Dr R A Mashelkar, Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research & President, Indian National Science Academy: Indias future is in IT, but not in IT as in Information Technology, but in IT as in Indian Talent. Giving every opportunity possible to Indian talent to reach its real potential would truly empower India My lessons from my life are simple. A society, that gives an opportunity for education to everyone, that has inspiring teachers, that has philanthropic industrialists, that has visionary leaders in all walks of life and that gives the talent every opportunity to reach its real potentialbecomes truly empowered.
Azim H Premji, Chairman & Managing Director, Wipro Corporation: In our schools, students are usually treated as beings who need to be didactically tutored, disciplined, and moulded. Students are told what to do, how to behave and what they must know. It seems to me that the first step is to make classrooms more open, friendly and democratic. A classroom, where the student is an active and equal participant in the teaching-learning process and is continuously formulating, questioning, thinking, experiencing, challenging, reconstructingand thus learning.
Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group: This is the time for India to shift gears and for our leaders to view India in the global contextcompeting and excelling in the global arena. We can no longer compare ourselves with our own past history nor be satisfied with growth and improvement in small increments. This is the time when India must set major goals and mobilise all its resources o achieve these goals through bold and sustained initiatives. We need to empower our people and subordinate individual vested interests in favour of initiatives for the good of the nation. It will be such actions and such actions alone which will enhance prosperity in our country and raise the quality of life for our people.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Spiritual teacher: The most effective yardstick of empowerment is the willingness of people to take responsibility. We need to move away from the blame culture. Instead of blaming the elected government, religious leaders, police and even the weather, people need to take responsibility for creating not just a prosperous but a happy society as well.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited: Empowering India means empowering every Indian, specially the youth who comprise the majority. Provide them access to world-class education, technology and skills, and they will seize the opportunities, looming large on the horizon, and win for the country the race for global leadership in the knowledge age. Education and health are, therefore, on top of my empower-India agenda. Quality education and sound health of every man, woman and child is where empowerment of a society begins. India Empowered is an educated India, a healthy India.
Sam Pitroda: True knowledge can empower people at all levels. It can make our people aware of their rights and responsibilities. It can also provide them tools and techniques to be productive and meaningful in the information age. To achieve this, the best brains in the country will have to focus urgently on solving problems of the poor and the underprivileged at the bottom of the pyramid. To me the key to empowering people is to provide knowledge, tools, technology and techniques to change their mindset from negative cynicism to positive optimism with hope for the limitless opportunities in this ever changing world.
YC Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Limited: India means basically rural India, because India lives in its villages. Over 72% of Indias population lives in rural India. Indias villages are home to 75% of Indias poor. The bulk of the population of rural India subsists on agriculture. Therefore, in order to tackle the problem of poverty in India, specially in rural India, we will have to consistently enhance the international competitiveness of Indian agriculture. One important step in this mission is to enable, and consequently empower even the smallest marginal farmer in the remotest recess of Indias rural hinterland to use technology, especially Information Technology (IT). It has been demonstrated beyond doubt that if we enable Indias farmers to creatively leverage IT, the resulting power of information and knowledge will help them compete successfully in the Indian and world markets.
Tomorrow: My Views
TECH TALK India Empowered+T