Science and technology should improve the quality of people’s lives : Vice President

SansadTV Bureau

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today emphasised the importance of emotional and social skills for engineering students along with technical skills. He said that these skills will enable them to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Interacting with students of IIT Tirupati on the occasion of its sixth Institute Day, the Vice President appealed to them to connect their knowledge with social relevance. “I am sure you will shape your destiny and contribute to the national transformation with your knowledge and skills you absorb here”, he told the students.

Terming technological advancement as a key decisive factor in the development architecture of a country, Shri Naidu highlighted the need to move steadily and swiftly on the path of technological advancement. At the same time, he wanted that science and technology should improve the quality of people’s lives. The Vice President also cautioned to remain vigilant about the environment and climate change while keeping pace with technological advancement.
Stating that IITs represent the face of a new resurgent and aspirational India, the Vice President said that it is an India determined to reclaim its rightful place in the comity of nations. “This is a dream that can be realized only if we can improve our education system”, he said.

Referring to the New Education Policy as a well thought out document, Shri Naidu emphasised the need to quickly translate this policy into action. In its spirit, the Vice President called for providing initial schooling in child’s mother tongue. He also called for efforts to increase the use of Indian languages in technical education, along with their use in administration and judiciary.

He noted with concern that out of around 1.5 million engineers passing out each year, only seven percent are suitable for core engineering jobs. “We have to increase employability and ensure that the skills required for the world of work are imparted”, he said.

The Vice President also called for building a stronger academia-industry connection.

Recalling India’s illustrious past, the Vice President said that in ancient times, India was known as Vishwa Guru and students from across Asia came to study at great institutions like Nalanda, Takshashila and Pushpagiri. “We have to regain that past glory. We have to make India a knowledge and education hub once again”, he said and called for working harder and smarter to achieve this.

Observing that with a median age of less than 30 years, India is one of the youngest nations in the world, Shri Naidu called for channelizing this youth energy constructively for nation-building. “The youth can play a transformative role only when they are properly skilled, motivated and given the right opportunities”, he said.

Stating that the sacred town of Tirupati holds a special place in his heart, Shri Naidu asked the students to not only learn the latest technologies but also explore India’s ancient culture. Shri Naidu also expressed confidence with many prominent educational institutes like IIT and IISER, Tirupati is poised to become the educational hub of the future.

He expressed happiness over the creation of new IITs and IIMs and wanted meticulous planning and sincere implementation by the faculty to turn them into truly world-class institutions. He also called for the creation of a congenial atmosphere for students to study, explore and experiment.

He said that new IITs have the advantage of the brand name acquired over the past few decades, but they also have a great responsibility to live up to the high standards set by older IITs.

Expressing satisfaction over fast pace growth of the third generation IITs, the Vice President especially lauded IIT Tirupati for securing two renowned sustainability awards, viz, GRIHA and HUDCO awards for the design and construction of an eco-friendly transit campus with sustainable construction materials and technologies.

Shri Naidu also appreciated IIT Tirupati for joining hands with the nation in fighting the Covid19 pandemic by developing several technologies including a thermal air sterilizer, N95 equivalent reusable respirators and a deep learning-based approach to classify normal, pneumonia and COVID -19 patients using Chest X-Ray images.
Noting that Tirupati is the only city in India to have both IIT and IISER in the same city, Shri Naidu hoped that this makes collaborative work and synergistic progress possible.

He also praised IIT Tirupati for maintaining the highest percentage of female student enrolment (18%) in B. Tech programme among all the IITs.

Congratulating the Director, Faculty, Staff and Students of IIT Tirupati for their accomplishments so far, the Vice President hoped that they will continue to contribute to nation-building in the years to come.
Shri K Narayana Swamy, Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Prof. K.N. Satyanarayana, Director, IIT Tirupati, Prof. N. Venkaiah, Dean, Student Affairs, IIT Tirupati, Prof. A Meher Prasad and others participated in the event.

Following is the full text of the speech:

“Sisters and brothers,

I am very glad to be here on the occasion of the sixth Institute Day of IIT Tirupati.

I had the opportunity to participate in the Foundation Stone laying programme of IIT Tirupati, IISER Tirupati and IIIT Sri City almost six years ago. I am happy to see the immense progress being made by these institutes.

This sacred town of Tirupati, abode of Lord Venkateshwara, has always had a special place in my heart. It evokes a sense of purity, devotion and inner peace. Now, this divine place has become even more dear to my heart because of the Jnana Yagna or the creation and dissemination of knowledge being performed in the portals of this institute as well as in a number of institutions that are located here.

Dear friends,

You are fortunate to be at a place where you can connect with India’s ancient culture while studying modern cutting-edge technologies. I want you to learn not only quantum physics and Artificial Intelligence, but also explore our rich heritage.

We have had an illustrious past. There was a time when India was known as Vishwa Guru. We had great institutions like Nalanda, Takshashila and Pushpagiri where students from across Asia came for learning. We have to regain that past glory. We have to make India a knowledge and education hub once again.

That is the current challenge. A challenge that should make us work harder and work smarter. A challenge that should make us realize our capabilities and refine them by constant practice and learning from the best in the world.

That is why the Government has been focusing on creating world-class educational institutions.  I am happy to note that in the past six years, six new IITs, seven new IIMs and16 new IIITs have come up.
But, establishing an institute is only a beginning. It cannot become a world-class educational institution overnight. It requires meticulous planning and sincere implementation by the top academic leaders who are serving as faculty. It requires the creation of a congenial atmosphere for students to study, explore and experiment. It requires a mind set that constantly seeks to be among the best in the world.
You start here with a certain advantage.

IITs have the brand name acquired over the past few decades, which everyone associates with quality education. So, you are quickly identified as one of the best institutions in the country. However, that poses a great responsibility on each one of you because you have to live up to the high standards set by other IITs.

I am happy to know that the third generation IITs including IIT Tirupati are growing at a fast pace. I am happy that you are creating the state-of-the-art infrastructure and are taking up innovative projects.It is indeed a matter of pleasure that the transit campus project of IIT Tirupati secured two renowned sustainability awards, viz, GRIHA and HUDCO awards for the design and construction of an eco-friendly campus with sustainable construction materials and technologies. It is heartening to note the significant progress achieved in building the permanent campus with world-class infrastructure towards housing 2500 students, 250 faculty members, and 275 staff members by the year 2024.

I have been told that even though you are one of the youngest IITs, you have joined hands with the nation in fighting the Covid19 pandemic and have successfully developed a thermal air sterilizer, N95 equivalent reusable respirators, a deep learning-based approach to classify normal, pneumonia and COVID -19 patients using Chest X-Ray images, an educational game called SurviveCovid-19 that improves awareness of masks, sanitizers and social distancing, etc.
I am happy that you have identified various thrust areas keeping in view the national needs and local relevance. I compliment all of you on being designated as the Technology Innovation Hub under the National Mission on Cyber Physical Systems.

I am hopeful that you will speedily set up Centres of Excellence in Food Technology, Precision Agriculture, Energy Storage and Atomic Molecular & Optical Technologies in association with IISER Tirupati.  Tirupati is the only city in India to have both IIT and IISER in the same city.  This makes collaborative work and synergistic progress possible.
Every year, we produce around 1.5 million engineers but a survey suggests that only seven percent of them are suitable for core engineering jobs. We have to increase employability and ensure that the skills required for the world of work are imparted.

More attention should be given to build a stronger academia-industry connection.

Dear sisters and brothers,

Today, India is one of the youngest nations in the world with over 62% of its population in the working-age group (15–59 years). The median age of our population is less than 30 years. This youth energy needs to be channelized constructively for nation-building. The youth can play a transformative role only when they are properly skilled, motivated and given the right opportunities.

IITs represent the face of a new resurgent and aspirational India. It is an India that is seeking new opportunities to transform lives. It is an India that is tapping into its core strengths to be self-reliant. It is an India that is determined to reclaim its rightful place in the comity of nations.

This is a dream that can be realized only if we can improve our education system. Which is why the National Policy on Education 2020 has given a well thought out blue print for the new educational architecture.

We have to quickly translate this policy into action. We must understand the fundamental shifts in paradigm that have been proposed. Flexibility, multi-disciplinary approach, sharper focus on learning, research, assessment and accreditation. Above all, the relentless quest for excellence.

IIT Tirupati with five other new IITs at Palakkad, Jammu, Bhilai, Goa, and Dharwad were created by the government to enhance access to technical education and create a knowledge ecosystem that would power India’s development.

In fact, that was the visionary zeal of our leaders who founded the first set of IITs seventy years ago.

It is now a matter of pride that 5 IITs are ranked among the 500 top ranking institutions in the world.

Technological advancement is a key decisive factor in the development architecture of a country in today’s world.

We should move steadily and swiftly on the path of technological advancement. At the same time, we should ensure that science and technology improves the quality of our people’s lives.

However, keeping pace with the technological advancement, we have to be vigilant about our environment and climate change that affect our lives.

IIT Tirupati can act as a pace setter and provide academic, research and innovation leadership through active networking.
I am also happy to know that IIT Tirupati, since its inception, has been maintaining the highest percentage of female student enrolment (18%) in B. Tech programme among all the IITs.

Dear students,

I am sure you will shape your destiny and contribute to the national transformation with your knowledge and skills you absorb here. But, equally important is the set of emotional and social skills that will enable you to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Also, you must try to connect your knowledge with social relevance.

Please remember what Swami Vivekananda  had said,
“Dare to be free, dare to go as far as your thought leads, and dare to carry that out in your life.”

I congratulate the Director, Faculty, Staff and Students of IIT Tirupati on your accomplishments so far and hope that you will continue to contribute to nation-building in the years to come.

Jai Hind.”