Monday, October 10, 2011


What prevents countries with predominant agricultural base to establish industries that can add value to the raw materials and provide high employment opportunities? The simple answer is the hopelessness of their infrastructure! A successful industry to be set up must have a vibrant entrepreneur, adequate feed stock of required quality, proper support facilities like power and water in plenty and access to reliable and efficient technology. Why is that in a country like India entrepreneurs are reluctant to set up shop in the rural areas where plenty of land is available? It is nightmare for any small or medium scale industry to operate in rural areas because of gross infrastructure inadequacy even if adequate resources like money and technology are available. The people living in rural areas are increasingly gravitating towards towns and cities, also because of this reason. Rural development seems to be synonymous with "allocation" of funds by the government with hardly any follow up efforts to ensure the money is well used for the purpose it is budgeted! Most Universities where knowledge is generated are located near urban centers and development of healthy industry is closely linked to knowledge development and access. It is here Technology Park concept can remedy the situation some what. An expose on the issue has recently come, of all the places in the world, from Pakistan which provides some sense.

"One of the essential ingredients to establish technology parks is to get tax incentives by the government as in general research process is slow, time consuming and expensive besides the fact that it cannot necessarily come up with 100% result every time. Middle East Technical University (METU) alumni and expatriate Arshad Jameel shared this view during an exclusive interview with The News . He, along with the Turkish delegates, was on a visit to Pakistan to find out possibilities for establishing technology parks in Pakistan. According to Arshad Jameel, the concept and desire to establish technology parks are there in Pakistan but there are certain things that are required to be there which include sufficient academia and senior PhD students. Actually the purpose of technology parks is to convert pure academic research into pure development research for which there will be need of entrepreneurs who are ready to invest besides availability of physical facilities, he said. He said that in the context of Pakistan, the model of technology parks would be different from the traditional model of other countries which is purely high-tech to tackle with some of the serious problems are faced in Pakistan. The establishment of technology parks in Pakistan can help in solving some of the serious problems including water, energy, industry and food as well as building materials, he said".

it was in early seventies of last Millennium some efforts were made in India to establish a Food Industrial Estate in Mysore in India under the aegis of CFTRI, the fountain head of knowledge on food processing at that time and predictability that effort collapsed in absence of support from the local government which thought allotting land is all it required for the industry to flourish. After setting up the SPV in the form of MoFPI by the GOI in nineteen nineties Food Parks both in the private and public sectors were promoted in a big way with financial incentives and the purpose was same viz providing facilities to the entrepreneurs without any hassle. If results of this program is evaluated, one cannot say that the project was a run away success and logically it could not be as the mindset of the Babus that run such programs always cause delay and prevarication, the very antitheses of efficiency and success! If really the rulers of this country had any imagination or vision thousands of villages that suffer indignities and misery would have become India's modern temples of agro-industries wiping out the poverty from the land long ago! The urbanization frenzy created by successive rulers at Delhi has made land near urban areas ultra expensive while rural land does not fetch a fraction of that price! The suggestions made by the Pakistani scholar are eminently applicable to India also and hundreds of Technology Parks funded by the government in many village areas with strong agriculture base and linked to Universities can transform the face of this country beyond recognition, provided they are thoughtfully designed and efficiently implemented.


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