Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said his government was committed to unlocking the investment potential of the vast public sector.
Inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of Administrative Staff College of India (ACSI), he asked the institute to train managers in government and public sectors to face the challenges of more competitive and uncertain business environments.
"We have invested a substantial part of our national resources in building the public sector. While it has produced a strong base of engineering and technological skills, the productivity of investment is still low. There is a need to unlock this investment potential," he said.
Manmohan Singh identified risk management, innovation and product development as the three major tasks before public sector to meet the new challenges and become financially sound.
Praising the turnaround in railways, he called for toning up the administration of other public sectors like the Food Corporation of India, state electricity boards and oil companies.
Underlining the need for public-private partnership, he said there was need to train managers in the public sector to make this partnership work better. The prime minister asked the ACSI to act as a bridge between public and private sectors.
According to Manmohan Singh, Indian industry was facing severe shortage of skills. "There is shortage of not just hi-tech skills but also of plumbers, electricians and nurses."
While educational institutions were producing large number of graduates, the numbers were not even close to what the economy required. He pointed out that new institutes were being set up for vocational training.
The prime minister lauded the initiatives taken by ACSI, a think tank on business, industry and economy, for training managers of neighbouring countries and for collaborating with Africa and Latin America and assured full support in expanding the institute's capabilities.
He also announced an interest free loan of Rs 50 million for ASCI. ASCI Chairperson M Narsimham said the amount would be used to build a second campus in Hyderabad.