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Sen makes veiled attack on 'those who oppose use of tech'
Dharam Shourie in New York | July 21, 2008 20:55 IST
Sen, who was addressing the golden jubilee celebration in New York of the Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai, did not directly refer to the nuclear deal apparently because of ongoing trial of strength of the Manmohan Singh [Images] government in Parliament.
The progress that the country is witnessing today including in the Information Technology sector, Sen said, has come because of decisions taken long ago by visionary Indian political leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi.
Those who oppose use of technology have proved wrong time and again, he said, adding they miss the point that latest technology is ultimate tool to meet the most basic requirements of the people.
Sen landed in trouble last year for referring the critics of Indo-US deal as a headless chicken, but later apologized saying his remarks were directed at media-persons not at lawmakers.
Stating that it is "absolutely unacceptable" that 60 years after independence, 40 per cent of the population should not have electricity, he said there is direct link between longevity and power consumption.
But while increasing power production, he said, it was also essential to do it in a way that future generations on his 'fragile' planet are not put at risk. That would require decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and increasing use of other sources.
In 50 years, Sen said, India would be the most populous country in the world but it would not be able to realize 'demographic dividend' unless there increase in employment, quantum leap in agricultural production and increase in the rural incomes.
To meet the challenges, Sen said India has to close the immense gap between need and availability of healthcare, ensure access to potable water, rapid development of infrastructure and innovative ways to develop public-private partnership.
For that purpose, India need to develop its own models, Sen said, pointing out that while in the United States, all highways are publicly funded, India private sector is very much in the field because of scarcity of public funds.This model, he added, is working successfully.
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