New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) Architect of India's telecom revolution Sam Pitroda says Rajiv Gandhi's ability to resist the pressure of Multinational Companies for giving up his plans of spread of telecom services has been a crucial factor in the country's development.
''Today telecom was driving development, but at one point Rajiv was under intense pressure to close C-Dot(Centre for Development of telematics) founded by him(Pitroda),but he had the guts to resist,'' said Mr Pitroda, once the leading figure along with with Rajiv Gandhi in the country's telecom success story, and now heading the Knowledge Commission.
About 20 years ago telephones were considered to be a thing for the use of the rich, but credit goes to Rajiv Gandhi for taking them to the rural masses.
Giving masses access to the means of telecommunication has gone a long way in empowering them.
''When we decided to build a network of samll telephone exchanges in rural areas on our own, we were thought crazy, and were often told that an underdeveloped country needed other things first than phones. But I found the required political support from Rajiv Gandhi. It was in fact a right chemistry that worked,'' said Mr Pitroda.
The plan also invloved training thousands of young people and building human resources, he said adding that the country had no dearth of talent, only one has to energise the minds of the young to get things done.
''Our emphasis was on access not on density. Access to means of communication and to knowledge and information through that is one of the most important factors in the human resopurce development.
''We are adding six million phones every month now and telecom has given us global visibility,'' he said.
Mr Pitroda said that when they started telecommunication venture, they had no idea that soon there will be internet and mobile phones.
But now these two things have transformed the way we think today He said the telecom revolution gives the ability to re-engineer all the process like travel, education healthcare. It gives us a different set of tools.
Developments in communications will also transform the way we impart education to the young.
''You need to think of the unthinkable, then only can you achieve the things which seem not possible. Lot of things come from your guts, not from brains,'' he added.
He was delivering the annual Rajiv Gandhi lecture on 'From Communication to Knowledge' held at the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation here January 15.
The Knowledge Commision, headed by Mr Pitroda, is a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister. It has been mandated to guide policy and direct reforms, focusing on certain key areas such as education, science and technology, agriculture, industry, e-governance etc.
Easy access to knowledge, creation and preservation of knowledge systems, dissemination of knowledge and better knowledge services are core concerns of the commission.
The Commission was constituted on June 30, 2005 with a time-frame of three years.