Awards liberate creativity from economic, social handicaps: PM

January 6th, 2011 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Mumbai, Jan 6 (IANS) Scholarships and prizes liberate creative minds from the constraints of economic and social handicaps, besides recognizing the contribution of individuals in different walks of life, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Thursday.”My own life stands testimony to the importance of scholarships. If I did not have access to scholarships I would never have been able to complete my education, leave alone have the opportunity to be educated at some of the world’s best institutions,” he said, presenting the prestigious Infosys Science Foundation Awards here Thursday evening.

Lauding the awardees for their highly impressive achievements and individual contribution to the cause of knowledge, the prime minister also praised Infosys for instituting the awards and appointing a distinguished jury to select the winners.

He observed that while several Indians have received global recognition for their work, and even Nobel Prizes, the country has not had an Indian working in India receive a Nobel Prize in the sciences since Sir C.V. Raman.

“I am particularly delighted that the Infosys Prize is given to Indians doing world class research while working and living in India,” he added.

Recalling Winston Churchill’s words, that the “empires of the future would be the empires of the mind”, Singh said that those words were remarkably foresighted.

“Indeed, it is now commonplace now to suggest that we today live in a knowledge-based era,” he said.

The prime minister pointed out that in today’s world, the strength of a nation is no longer measured by the might of its armies, but from the quality of its collective knowledge, productivity of working people, creativity of its entrepreneurs and dedication of its professional work force.

“A country’s prosperity too is a function of the knowledge its people possess and acquire. Indeed, it has always been so. But, what has changed in the last few decades is the access to knowledge. We live in an era of greater equity and equality as far as the acquisition of knowledge is concerned,” he noted.

While feudal restrictions and pre-democratic institutions can no longer impose social barriers to the access to knowledge, one ancient barrier - the barrier of economic capacity, continues to remain.

He observed that the growing share of privately funded profit-making educational institutions could be emerging as a worrisome barrier to freer access to knowledge for all our people.

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