In a knowledge society, the knowledge workers will perform different tasks. Some of them will generate knowledge, some will acquire knowledge, some will absorb knowledge and some will communicate knowledge. Generating knowledge will require an ab initio approach and will build on creativity. India traditionally has been good at this. Acquiring knowledge will involve both development of knowledge indigenously as well as acquiring it from elsewhere in the world, through licensing agreements, foreign investment and so on. Absorbing knowledge will involve ensuring universal basic education, creating opportunities for lifelong learning, supporting tertiary education in science and technology, etc. For building true knowledge societies, extending education to girls and other disadvantaged groups will be crucial. Education will be crucial for development, but education without openness to innovation and knowledge will not lead to economic development. Soviet Union had near hundred percent literacy but severe restriction on innovation in the market place led to an economic decline.
Communicating knowledge will involve, among other things, creative use of modern information and communications technology through competitive environment, but at the same time ensuring that the poor have an access. Revolution in information technology will galvanize the process of knowledge communication. The cost of transmitting a million bits of information over a kilometer has plummeted in the last twenty years from over twenty dollars to a few cents; and the curve is logarithmic. In 2020, half of the world’s population will be connected by Internet; we will be then talking about ‘netizens’ and not citizens’! Access to information and knowledge will therefore assume a different dimension altogether. India should siere these opportunities.