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Education creating wealth, reducing inequality: Surjit S Bhalla

Earlier, it used to be Johnny who went to school but could not read. Now, it’s Sita in India who goes to school but cannot read.
According to Surjit S Bhalla, policy advisor and author of recently published ‘The New Wealth of Nations’, it’s a natural process of evolution that the country is going through but empowerment through education has already created a new elite. Speaking at a session of the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival, Bhalla said, “Never before in the history of the world have so many people become much better off in such quick time in the last 35 years. I attribute that to education.”
While economists, politicians and policymakers keep debating to find out what creates economic growth, Bhalla said that it was no more land and resources as Adam Smith considered in 1776, but education, which not only creates individual income and contributes to GDP, that would become the powerful instrument in reducing inequality. But fellow panelist Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a pioneering biotech entrepreneur, chairperson and managing director of Biocon and author of ‘Ale and Arty: The Story of Beer’, said that people often confuse literacy with education.
She said that the country needs to focus on research and innovation to empower a workforce that was relevant for today’s industry. “Technology is the biggest leveller when it comes to reducing poverty. But among education policymakers, there are people who hail from pre-internet age and technology age. That is where the policy becomes flawed,” she added. She cited an example of five data-driven companies such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google whose combined market capitalization of $3.5 trillion is bigger than India’s GDP.
Bhalla said women’s emancipation and empowerment were going to be the story of the 21st century.
Source : timesofindia



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