Basic idea of India being challenged: Sam Pitroda

New Delhi, March 25: The basic ideas of India’s democratic values, freedom of speech and social inclusion have been challenged in the run-up to the general elections, said Sam Pitroda, adviser to prime minister on public information infrastructure and innovations.

“The upcoming elections are India’s most important polls in recent history. However, the basic ideas of India, democratic values, freedom of speech and social inclusion are being challenged,” Pitroda said while addressing the Growth Net 2014 conference here Tuesday.

“India has to be built through social inclusion, and not by alienating one group of people. We cannot have growing inequality all the time,” he said obliquely referring to political opponents, particularly BJP leader and prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.

Refuting the charges of policy paralysis levelled against the Manmohan Singh government, Pitroda said the government has done a lot of work in the past 10 years.

“We have achieved a lot in the last ten years. In 2004, only 10 percent youth went to schools. Today, we have doubled the number to 20 percent. Polio has been eradicated. We are working towards democratising knowledge, since poverty has a lot to do with poverty of information,” he said.

However, Pitroda accepted that the government has made some mistakes.

“We have made big mistakes, but some of us are unwilling to accept this. We haven’t communicated well, and have gone back on some of our promises,” he added.

Nearly 100 speakers from 25 countries participated at the Growth Net 2014 to discuss global economic imperatives. The three-day event that ended Tuesday was organised by Ananta Centre, formerly a part of Aspen Institute India, and Smadja and Smadja.

On comparison between India and China growth models, Pitroda said: “India’s diversity is given. We cannot ignore social inclusion. India would rather have development and freedom than high GDP and growth. India should not be judged by GDP.”

IANS