PM Modi dedicates new campus building of IIT Gandhinagar to the nation, launches Digital Saksharta Scheme
Work is underway to spread digital literacy to every part of India, among all age groups and sections of society: PM
In this day and age, we cannot afford to have a digital divide: PM Narendra Modi
A Digital India guarantees transparency, effective service delivery and good governance: PM

Dear young friends,

You all are IITians. However, I’m such a person with whose name those two I-es were never attached. All of you are IITians, however, I remained TN since childhood. That TN of TEA meaning Tea Vendor. I was thinking that the youth of college were very sharp and they don’t take this much time. And exactly the same thing happened. Today is the 7th of October. A massive earthquake had struck on 26 January 2001 and after that such a situation was created which was not the path of my life and all of sudden I was entrusted with a new responsibility by swearing in as the chief minister in this very Gandhinagar on 7 October 2001. Neither I knew the system of governance, nor had I seen the assembly but a new responsibility was given to me. However, I had mentally vowed that I would not turn my back from hard work and today this country has always given me some or some other new responsibility and I am amongst you under this new responsibility.

Today, some rural young men and women from different parts of the country are present here, some old people are also among them, whom I have given the certificates before anyone else. I was asking them all sorts of question and I was surprised as they knew everything about what they were doing in the villages, how they have been helping people, what kind of training they have got, how they will use their training? They have been able to answer all of my questions. And I think this is a revolution. The world has seen that kind of knowledge revolution of technology in the last 50 years which was not seen by the country and the world in the last 300 years before that. Technology has become a part of life; technology has become a driving force in itself. And if any country wants to progress in such an era then it is essential for the people at every level in the country be it cities or be it villages, be it educated or uneducated, be it youth or be it an old person, it’s a must to connect them with technology for a bright future.

As Mahatma Gandhi had laid emphasis on literacy during the freedom movement; if literacy had its own strength during the freedom struggle similarly digital literacy is a very important force during the movement for good governance. And that is why it is an effort of government of India to take steps in the direction to provide digitally literacy to every village of the country and to every generation in the villages of the country. And today’s programme, there are nearly six crore rural households in the country and we have taken upon us the task of imparting the digital literacy to at least one person of each of these six crore families. We have created a module of 20 hours which is being taught to those people. Online exams are being conducted, he had to appear in the exam while sitting in front of a video camera and then only that person is being certified. And it is our experience that some one’s age, education, these things are not relevant for digital literacy, it doesn’t mean much, it is not important.

There was a time when Carl Marks philosophy was the guiding principle in the world. People used to quote the ideas of Karl Marx, like his theory of haves and have nots, those who have everything and those who have nothing. He has developed his political ideology on the basis of this divide. Whether it has succeeded or has failed, the wise people will discuss this thing. At present, that ideology is visible nowhere after gradually shrinking. Just a few sign boards of them have remained. However, in terms of technology we will have to make a cautious effort for a bright future of the country so that the digital divide does not emerge. If some people are expert in the use of digital technology and some others are completely oblivious then this kind of digital divide could cause a big threat to our social structure given the kind of changes are expected in it. And that is why for the development of social harmony and by incorporating the fundamental issues of development we have launched this campaign in the direction of digital literacy in rural India to remove this digital divide. We are aware that if we bring home a modern TV set that is operated through a remote then how do we feel initially? However, when a two three year old kid shuffles the channel as per the requirement, he learns how to turn on and turn off then even the old people of the family also feel like the need to learn these things. And then they also learn how to switch it off or turn it on. Has anyone seen the classroom where it is being taught how to forward a message on Whatsapp? Is there any institute in the country that teaches how to forward a message in Whatsapp? But you know that people have learnt how to forward a message in Whatsapp. I mean to say if we follow the path of user friendly technology then we can easily take the country in the direction of digital literacy. Digital literacy, digital technology and digital India are a guarantee for good governance and for transparency.

Government of India has conceived a path of development through JAM trinity. JAM J-Jandhan Account, A- Aadhaar, M-Mobile Phone, our government has been following the path of development by being present in the mobile phone of a common man as per his requirement by connecting these three things. A massive campaign has been launched in the country for laying the optical fiber network; an attempt has been made to lay the optical fiber network in the lakhs of villages of the country at a rapid pace. And today it has become possible to provide good education, long distance education through digital medium to our future generations, to our poor kids located in the far flung areas. And as the optical fiber network will gradually reach every village of the country it will completely transform the education system of that village, it will completely transform the health services and other public convenience facilities provided by the government. And we have been following the same design and as a part of that thing today; these people who have come from the different parts of the country; those who have done the course of community service centre; and there are several others who are going to enroll for this course and in the coming days this training will be imparted to one individual each in the six crore families. And it is going to become a means of livelihood for them as now the services will be delivered through them and we should make effort in that direction. Sometimes we experience this thing, you might have seen a lot of people who buy the latest mobile phones, who buy the best mobile phones after seeing its advertisement in TV or in a news paper or in a magazine or if they come to know about it through the Google Guru then the first thing they do is to buy that mobile. But you will find that 80% people are neither aware about the so many facilities available in that mobile nor they have a developed a habit of using them. Perhaps, you can find some people here in IIT as well who don’t have a habit of exploiting the full potential of a mobile phone even if they have the best models. And that is why if we are digitally literate only then we can make the best use of the money spent by us and in a way we can also add value. And that is why we have launched this campaign for digital literacy. And this digital literacy will play a big role in making the society a less cash society.

The BHIM App that is being developed by government of India, it’s a wonder for the other countries of the world. The data bank created through Aadhaar based digital biometric system is a wonder for the entire world. We have been moving forward in the direction of linking the development, linking the empowerment through that and I believe that it is going to be used in a very big manner. Today, I’m fortunate that I got the opportunity to publicly dedicate the new campus of this IIT. And if it was election time and if had decided to provide this land at that time, nearly 400 acres of land that too in Gandhinagar, and that too on the banks of river Sabarmati, you can imagine how costly this land is and had it been the election time when I had taken the decision then some people would have started speaking against it as they have been speaking against the bullet train these days. They would have said that Modi you are spending money on IITs at a time when the structure of primary education in Gujarat is not up to the mark. They would have certainly criticised it. However, it’s good that when I took the decision to provide the land then it was not the election time. However, now you will realise that how foresighted this decision was. And that day I had told, Sudhir Ji and people of the department would recall that that day I had said that IIT is a brand, IIT has become a brand in India, however, the brand of a campus among the IITs will be more powerful. In the coming days it will be discussed that which campus is like what. And that is why I have said that I need a campus in Gujarat that can become the top most campus among the best IITs. And today I’m happy to note that this campus has acquired the parity with the top IITs of the country. Campus has its own strength and faculty is the second strength of an institution and I’m happy as I was told that today 75% of faculty of IIT Gandhinagar has been trained abroad, who have gained expertise there and they have decided to devote their time and energy for the students of this IIT. And I welcome their decision. However, the government of India has posed a challenge for the educational institutions of the country. I want the IIT Gandhinagar to come forward to accept this challenge. Will you accept it? What happened to all the IITans? The response is coming forward from that side. This is for the first time that this kind of reform has been done in India’s education sector which was expected for several years but no one was able to muster the courage.

Today, even after 70 years of independence, we are nowhere in the top 500 universities of the world. Whether this stigma should be removed or not? Whether we can take our universities to that level in the world by 2022 when we complete 75 years of our independence so that we can also say that we too have done something. Can we do this thing or not? This is for the first time that the government of India has decided to select 10 public and 10 private universities through the challenge route. And nearly Rs. 1,000 crore will be provided. And if these 10 public and 10 private universities, if these universities win this challenge, if they come up and they establish global standards then they will be given this kind of freedom to demonstrate their strength by liberating them from the regulations of central and state governments. The government would not interfere in their syllabus, in their faculty or campus or in any other manner. They should decide all these things themselves and produce results. The government is willing to provide Rs. 1,000 crore for those 20 universities. Gandhinagar IIT has such a large campus of 400 acres and all the facilities are being created at a cost of Rs. 1,700 crore. I’m confident that Sudhir Jain and his entire team and all these youth should collectively come forward, they should take up this task. In order to develop a country it’s necessary that we create institutions from time to time. Gujarat can take pride on this thing that in the last 10 years it has given several institutions of global level to the country. Even today there is only one forensic science university anywhere in the world. Gujarat is the only place which has its own forensic science university. This is the only university in the world. Even today there is no university in India like the Indian institute of teacher education - IITE - that prepares best quality teachers. Students do graduation, post graduation in teaching and come out as the best of the best teachers from there. Gujarat is the first state in the country which has established a university like Indian Institute of Teacher Education. Gujarat is the first country which has established Children University. Nowhere in the world there is a Children University. Today, the world is moving in the direction of micro family. Mothers are busy themselves, fathers are busy themselves. The child is being left as a responsibility of the domestic help of the family. The time demands that we need to create such an institution for the proper development of our small kids, for properly tending them and the roots for their development as good citizens should be sown during the childhood. And this children university should conduct research on this topic. What kind of toys should be there for children, walls of their rooms should be painted in which color, what kind of songs should be played for children, what kind of nutritional values their food should have, what kind modern techniques should be used in teaching so they easily grasp things, there is a need to conduct research on all these topics.

Earlier their used to be joint families and the family used to be a university in itself. A kid used to learn one thing from grander mother and another thing from grandfather and yet another thing from his uncle. A kid used to learn one thing from mother and another thing from paternal uncle. In today’s micro families, the doors for this kind of learning have been shut on them therefore this idea was conceived and this Children University was established to take care of, to think about the kids of future generations. And this thing was conceived on this land of Gujarat.

There are three important areas in the field of crime, the first one is legal faculty, the second one is police and the third one is forensics for crime detection and Gujarat has worked on all these three things; national law university was created that will produce the best of the best lawyers and judges and it will take the responsibility of the judicial education part; a police university was created and there are only a handful of universities in the country for policing and Gujarat is one among those states. Gujarat was the second state in the country to set up a police university. Defence Force university was set up for those who want to join uniformed forces so that they can join that stream after the 10th or 12th and can complete their education there only so that they can learn communication deal, crowd management, crowd psychology management, so that he knows about the sections of Indian Penal Code of the country and he can opt for recruitment in police after getting educated. So the Gujarat took initiative to bring about a qualitative change in the country’s defence sector. And the forensic science university, you must be aware that today all the crimes have been solved and criminals have been arrested due to use of technology. If the strength of forensic science university; the more students of forensic sciences we develop the more forensic science will play the most important role in dealing with crimes be it cyber crime or any other crime, or be it protection from those crimes or be it detection of those crimes and ensuring punishment for criminals. So all these three faculties have been developed simultaneously on this land of Gujarat and it is going to make a very big contribution to the country. And today, those people, who have done some new experiments in the country or in the world, they have been associating themselves with these universities. And when today I am sitting among the IIT-ians then I’m aware that a big part of your time is being spent in the lab. You people keep doing new or novel thing but most of the time it is exam oriented innovation or exam oriented projects but I don’t want the youth of my country to remain stuck in this allay. The time demands that we lay emphasis on innovation.

Government of India has developed the institutes under the name of AIM under the NITI Ayog. Atal Innovation Mission or AIM and through them we have been providing money to those schools which have been selected through the challenge route for setting up tinkering labs and we inspire the students of 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 10th standards for innovation. The natural talent that we have, it will have to go in for innovations in order to change the fortune of the country. The country which has mastery over Information Technology but Google is being created in some other country! The country which has youth who have mastery over IT but Facebook is being developed somewhere else! YouTube is being developed somewhere else and I want this thing, I challenge the youth of this country: please come forward and follow the path of innovation for changing the fortune of the country and the world. It’s not like that intelligence is somebody’s personal property. If once you engage with these things then you will also end up in discovering novel things and you will end up in giving so much to the country and to the world. Sometimes we have that tendency to do new things; but there is another way for innovation and I’d like to guide you and today I hope that you will pay attention to my suggestions. It’s a different thing to innovate on the basis of the academic knowledge that you have and the subjects you have studied like the basic structural engineering that you have studied. Another way is that you look at the problems and difficulties around you and then think whether I can solve this thing! And that poor fellow, he is leading a difficult life but I’m an IIT-ian and I will do something so that his life improves and that thing in itself will become an innovation. And sometimes it can be done on such a big scale that it can become a big business model. Our country has plenty of problems, for example cleanliness campaign is underway and why not our youth doing innovations do something to create wealth from the waste. Why not they take new and newer projects of innovation?


Today, lot of work is happening in the field of solar energy. Today, we have been making use of solar energy, wind energy, renewable energy and climate change but what kind of things we should innovate as per the country’s requirement so that we can provide at least one thing in every Indian home. Can we set every Indian family free from the expenses on cooking fuel as abundant solar light is available in our country? Why not we develop cooking equipments that use solar energy? Those equipments should be used for cooking food so that people don’t have to buy cooking fuel, so that they don’t have to use a fire stove? They should have their own solar plants, they should have two solar panels on their roof top so that the food as per the requirement of that household can be cooked. So will it save the expenses on the cooking fuel of kitchens of poor families, middle class families or not? We see these small things, minute things. Why should we not take them up for innovation and why should we not find solutions for them? And I am confident that IIT Gandhinagar will create a culture, it will develop a culture of innovation and that culture should be need based. And that innovation will be sustainable that is based on some needs and not based on some knowledge. It becomes scalable and it also gets the opportunity of becoming commercial and top companies also come forward to purchase them. So I would like the IIT to work in this direction.

And I’d like to share one more thing with the youths of IIT. Perhaps Gujarat is the first state in the country that has created an institute under the name of I-Create. Very few people would have heard its name. And as per my information it has become three or four years old but it’s building is yet to be dedicated to public. I’m not able to spare time for its dedication but I will certainly do so. This I-Create provides incubation to those people of the states and of the country who are interested in innovation. It has a lab, it has accommodation facility and government is willing to give opportunity to your ideas through it. You people should innovate in such a manner so that the systems to bring about the changes in the lives of the country can be easily developed. This I-Create is one of its kind in India and it has collaboration agreement with the best of the best innovation institutions in the world. I’m giving you this information which does not make headline in the news papers. But it is very important for the young generation which makes the future of the country. And friends that is why I expect this thing from you people and we have a time of five years till 2022 when India completes 75 years of its independence.

In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi had said: quit India and within the next five years the country rose up to the call in such a manner that the British had to leave the country. My fellow countrymen, if we also rise up to the occasion for five years to rid the country of poverty, to rid the country of casteism, to rid the country of corruption and to rid the country of nepotism then all these things can be achieved in the country. Friends please come forward and walk with me shoulder to shoulder. We have marched ahead with the pledge to accomplish these things.

And I’d like to tell one more thing to the youth of IIT. You people must have been told a lot of things, given a lot of advice at the time of convocation. You people live in such a grand building, you people have been getting education in such a grand building. Whether all these things became possible just because you had a sharp mind or just because your parents were wealthy people and they were in sound position so that they could send you here? Despite all these things, my young friends you people are here in such a grand campus, you people have been fortunate to obtain the best of the best education because some or some other poor person has contributed for this thing. You people have got from the share of some poor person’s rights. This 400 acres of land, if the government has sold this land for money and then constructed buildings for the primary education then how many buildings would have been constructed? Had the government constructed primary health care centres then how many PSE centres would have been constructed? But this 400 acres of land has been dedicated for the brighter future of my country. We have got these things as some poor section of our society has foregone its rights. And if I have these feelings then despite being an IIT-an my sensitivity for the society will never come down. And my intent of doing something for the society will never diminish. And if I live then I will live for the common man of my country and if I achieve something, if I’m able to accomplish anything then I will do it for the common man of my country. So you people also take this solemn pledge at the time of dedication of this new building. With this one expectation alone, I convey my best wishes to you people.

Thank you very much

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