New Delhi: The Indian economy and society is at the “tipping point” and needs a strong government with “international outlook” to take the country’s progress to the next level, says Sam Pitroda, an advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“We are at the tipping point. The question is how do we tip. If we tip in a wrong way we are in a mess,” said Pitroda, who advises the prime minister on public information infrastructure and innovations.
“We have 19th century mindset, we have 20th century processes and 21st century requirements. We got to change things. We need to change the way we do things. We need to bring in technology, we need to change processes,” Pitroda told IANS in an exclusive interview.
Pitroda, who has been associated with the central government and some state governments for more than three decades in various advisory positions ever since his friend, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, invited him here from his base in Chicago to usher in a telecommunication revolution, said the Indian economy was passing through a difficult situation and the country needed a strong government with an international outlook.
“Right now everybody is waiting for the next election. Psychologically, everybody will say let’s wait for the next election,” he said, when asked whether decision-making has taken a hit because of the upcoming general election.
“We need strong government, we need young people in the government, we need government that has international outlook, government that has inclusive mindset,” he said.
Pitroda, who shuttles between New Delhi and Chicago and addresses universities and institutes around the world, said the Indian economy has resilience and would soon return to over eight percent growth trajectory.
“We had eight years great, two years are bad. Let’s work hard, we will get back to eight percent (GDP growth) and then to 10 percent,” he said.
“I can’t get depressed because it is not eight percent today. The economy has the resilience it will go back to eight percent,” he added.
Asked what will have the biggest impact on India’s development process in the coming decade, Pitroda, who is credited for laying the foundation of India´s technology and telecom leap in the 1980s, said: “it will be internet-based services and technology.”
“In less than 10 years from now, almost everybody in India will have access to internet and web. It will revolutionise the way we do things and provide social welfare services,” he said.
He hoped the recent economic downturn won’t have any major impact on innovation, as the government has shown its commitment to pushing forward the process.
On corporate innovation, he said the downturn might have temporary impact, but the businesses must keep innovating in order to be competitive.
“Corporate innovation is a small part. There are bigger challenges in innovating processes, innovation in health, education and other public services,” he said.