In-Depth Jobs

Volume-50, 10-16 March, 2018


Management of Knowledge Economy and Society

Prof. S.K. Kataria

 The present human civilization and culture are passing through the fast changing global trends. The New Economic Order (NEO) across the globe has initiated the "Paradigm Shifts" in almost every sphere of human life, polity, society and administration. It is generally quoted that the present millennium is the best platform for knowledge society. Knowledge revolution that seeks to build capacity and generate quality will enable India to empower her human capital, including the 50 % population below the age of 25 years. Such a unique demographic dividend offers a tremendous opportunity as well as a daunting challenge which requires creative and holistic strategies for a new knowledge oriented paradigm. Knowledge has replaced capital as the most important determinant of development. Since ages, India has been a Vishvaguru. Unfortunately, the country is now struggling for her glorious legacy. In formulating our vision of the future India, it is important to see beyond the limits of the immediate or long past to rediscover the greatness that is India. Alvin Toffler says-"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."

Knowledge Economy

The terms 'knowledge economy' or 'knowledge -based economy' are generally used interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference in both the terms. Knowledge economy refers either to an economy of knowledge focused on production and management of knowledge in the frame of economic constraints. Here, knowledge and education is treated as a business product or productive asset. So far as knowledge-based economy is concerned, it considers knowledge as a tool. However, this difference is not yet well distinguished in the subject matter literature. Both the terms as well as other related terms like-'knowledge society', 'information society', 'knowledge revolution', 'knowledge market' are interdisciplinary in nature and overlapping each other. As per the definition given by the World Bank Institute-"A knowledge economy is one that creates, disseminates and uses knowledge to enhance its growth and development."

The phrase, knowledge economy was popularized if not invented by the 'Doyen of Management'-Peter Drucker in his famous book-The Age of Discontinuity (1969). A knowledge economy includes the concept of exchanging knowledge-based products and services. The fast growth rate and increasing contribution of service sector in the GDP of India, pampers the possibilities of knowledge economy. The historical importance of knowledge economy is described by the then president of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in February, 2006. He said-"Since ancient times, our society has greatly valued knowledge, our democracy has enabled us to spread the benefits of knowledge more widely. Today we live in a 'knowledge era' in which every social and economic activity is derived by knowledge."

India is moving very fast to knowledge revolution. About 50-60 percent of our industrial output is based on information. The five basic elements or resources of knowledge e.g. technology, organization, information, education and skills are sound in the present position. As per Carl Dahlman and Anuja Utz- "India has many of the key ingredients for making this transition. It has a critical mass of skilled, English-speaking knowledge workers, especially in the sciences. It has a well-functioning democracy. Its domestic market is one of the worlds largest. It has a large and impressive Diaspora, creating valuable knowledge linkages and networks. The list goes to on-microeconomic stability, a dynamic private sector, institution of a free market economy, a well developed financial sector and a broad and diversified science and technology infrastructure. …. .The core issue is which growth path India embarks on in the future will depend on how well the government, private sector and civil society can work to create a common understanding of where the economy should be headed. Thus, India needs a knowledge- based modern society that has a scientific temperament too".

Knowledge Society

Never before to this millennium, has knowledge been recognized as the foremost and omnipotent resource for the holistic development of mankind. Today, every government is striving for establishment of a sound 'knowledge society' to face the ever increasing challenges of 21st century. Knowledge society refers to any society where knowledge is the primary production instead of capital and labour.  Such type of society creates shares and uses knowledge for the prosperity and well being of its people. Economic, social, political, administrative and all other human activities become dependent on a huge volume of knowledge and information. In other words, a knowledge society is one in which knowledge becomes a major creative force. The ninth report of second administration reforms commission puts greater emphasis on 'Social Capital'. In many cases it provides cogent explanations for the failure of economic policies, because socio-cultural elements directly influence politico-economic factors. Social capital and trust are elements of cohesion in society and entrepreneurship and are vital for setting in processes that expand social, economic and political opportunities. In fact, the concept of knowledge society is not purely a new one. Since the ages, we had the knowledge communities of artisans, artists and other indigenous technologies tradition. Since, the present millennium, through the information explosion knowledge has become the most crucial and important capital and hence; the success of any modern society dies in harnessing it.

Where does India Stand?

It is a matter of pride that the Government of India striving for the meterialisation of a knowledge society as well as management of knowledge. In this regard, it is contextual to analyse the basic socio-economic and educational data and scenario of the country .As per 2011 census, the literacy rate in India was 74.04 percent and still it is very less than the world's average (86 %). The goal of universal access to elementary education has yet not been achieved. There are also wide disparities in access to school education between states, rural and urban areas, gender as well as different economic classes.

The scenario of higher education is more chaotic in the country. There are only 864 universities and 40026 colleges   and 11669 other institutes (2017) in the country where 38.2 million students pursuing their higher education. Although, the enrolment of 38 million students appears to be huge but it accounts, very small percentage in entire population. Similarly, the accessibility of higher education in India is very less (only 25 percent in 2016-17) in comparison to other countries e.g. USA (89 percent), Australia (81 percent), U.K. (68 percent) and France (55 percent). It is again a matter of sorrow that only 11 percent graduates go for post-graduate studies and. 8 percent go for research (M. Phil. and Ph.D. etc.). A total of 77,000 research scholars are registered every year in the country and out of these only 159000 research scholars are awarded by doctoral degree. Moreover only 7 % MBA pass outs and engineers are employable.  Our 65% of youth is in working age group but these jobless graduates have worthless degrees.

India's poor performance in research is also highlighted by comparisons with other countries. In 2012, Finland had 7707, Singapore had 6088, Japan had 5573, USA had 4663 and even China had 1071 researchers per million inhabitants, while India had only 137.  India spends only .85% of its GDP on research and development activities while Japan spends 3.5 % and South Korea spends 4.2 on R and D. India has filed only 17865 patent applications in US Patent and Trademark Office till 2015, while Japan had 1069394, Germany had 365627 and China had filed 45366 applications. Publication of books and research paper along with copyright, patent and trademark registration is an essential requirement for knowledge society. In terms of publication of scientific research in the world, India was ranked 8th during 1980s, slipped to 13 during 1990s and nose dived to 21st position in new millennium.

It was January 12, 2005, the inaugural session of confederation of Indian Industry when the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced the establishment of a National Knowledge Commission (NKC) for enhancing capacities and ensuring foundation so as to face the challenges of 21st century effectively.  In this regard NKC was constituted on June 13, 2005 as a high level adviser body to the Prime Minister of India under the chairmanship of Sam Pitroda. The commission had submitted its reports to the government.

Knowledge Management

Time has come to develop a strong, reliable, flexible and adaptive mechanism in each organisation to document, display and protect the knowledge available in the organizational processes or with the individuals. Since, the 'administrative state' has been a foremost agent for the socio-economic development, innovational efforts and research activities, hence almost every administrative organisation has its own vast procedures, processes and practices as knowledge store, need to be protected and preserved. Since 1991, Knowledge Management (KM) has been established as a separate discipline in developed nations. By nature, K.M. is multidisciplinary and related with information and media, computer science, library science and public policy. Public policy is a refined term and sphere for formulation, implementation, evaluation and feedback on governmental decisions. Knowledge management comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organisation to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences contain knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practices. Private sector across the globe is much ahead so far as KM efforts are concerned. Most of the companies have merged KM with their 'business strategy', 'information technology' or 'human resources management'. KM efforts typically focus on organizational objectives i.e. improved performance, competitive advantage, innovations, sharing of the lessons learnt integration and continues improvement of the organisation. Generally, KM efforts overlap with 'organisational learning'; however it may be distinguished through the greater focus on the management of knowledge as a strategic asset and emphasizing the sharing of knowledge.

India is the biggest democratic nation in the world where economy, society, industry, polity and administration are passing through transition phase.The World Bank study document entitled "India and the Knowledge Economy: Leveraging Strengths and Opportuni-ties (2005) reveals that India has made tremendous strides in its economic and social development in the past two decades and is poised to realize even faster growth in the years to come. The document identifies the following key issues needs to be addressed urgently-

1.Strengthening the Economic and Institutional Regime

2.Developing Educated and Skilled Workers

3.Creating an Efficient Innovation System

4.Building a Dynamic Information Infrastructure

India Vision-2020 report assumes that India would achieve quadrupling of per capita income by 2020 and would attain a level of development far higher than China is today and on par with upper middle income (UMI) countries such as-Argentina, Chile, Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa .The report says that India should Endeavour to acquire the underlying principleso and theoretical knowledge that can be applied appropriately to our own specific case. Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) has been taken place in Indian market too. There is a pool of skilled workers, available in pharmacy, medical, law, bio-technology, education and training, engineering, analysis, design and animation, research and development and various other intellective activities in the country. At present legal services, medical transcription, data analysis, network management, animation and designing, market research and intellectual properly research are done through KPO. After I.T. Sector, the BPO and KPO sectors have the capacity somehow to solve the problem of unemployment in India. As per India Vision-2020 document India faces the challenges of generating 200 million new employment opportunities over the next decade. The rapid expansion of small and medium technology intensive sectors and services also have the potentials of employment.

The policy makers in India must be aware  that after enactment of the revolutionary law- Right to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009  the present higher education structure may be Critically Strained  due to its in- built inefficiencies and heavy workload. So we need a total overhauling and rapid expansion of colleges and universities with quality education. One more threat or challenge is to be faced by the civil services. The sluggish working and unaccountable attitude of government employees may lead a mutiny against the bureaucracy as the awareness level of the ordinary citizen is going to be excelled. Does our   bureaucracy realize it? After a talk on the role technology could play in shaping a modern India, a ten-year old girl came up for Dr. Kalam's autograph. What is your ambition?" Dr. Kalam asked her. The response was prompt, "I would like to live in a developed India." The aspiration, simply expressed, has been the hope for millions of Indians since independence. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam says-"A developed India by 2020 or even earlier, is not a dream. It needs not to be a mere vision in the minds of many Indians. It is a mission; we can all take up and succeed. ………A vision is not a project report or a plan target. It is an articulation of the desired end results in broader terms."

The author is Professor in Pub. Adm.,  Mohanlal  Sukhadia University, Udaipur ( Raj. ) e.mail-  skkataria64@rediff