His Excellency Mr. Peter Hass, the Consul General of USA, Mr. Naoki Sakai from ADB, Mr. Dona Younger from IFC, my colleagues from the State Government, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am very happy to be part of this important ceremony today. It is indeed a very important moment in the history of renewable energy sector. It is particularly important for solar energy. However, to my mind, it is much more important than just a step forward in energy security.
Friends, our commitment to Renewable Energy is an integral part of our commitment to address the issue of Global warming and Climate change. In fact, I have been saying that it is an issue of ‘Climate Justice’. It is a part of our concern for the future generations.
It is a part of our concern for the poor and the less privileged who are going to be the worst sufferers of climate change. In view of this, we have taken a series of steps to mitigate the impact of Climate Change. Gujarat is one of the four Governments in the world which has a separate department for Climate Change. We have dedicated a huge amount of money for this issue.
We all know that we cannot reverse the clock of human civilization. However, we have demonstrated ways in which it is possible to live a quality life even by consuming less energy. We have demonstrated that it is possible to produce more, both in agriculture and industry, even by consuming lesser energy. More and more consumption of energy will not help us to come out of the vicious cycle of Carbon emission. I have listed some thoughts on this in my book on climate change which is titled as ‘Convenient Action: Gujarat’s response to Challenges of Climate Change’. In this book, I have shown some simple ways in which energy can be saved.
For example, we have brought a paradigm shift from ground water irrigation to surface water irrigation by constructing several Hundred thousand of minor irrigation structures.
You might be aware that Gujarat is a power surplus state. Still the Govt. of Gujarat is spending a huge amount on renewable energy (more than Rs. 2,000 crore per year). We are doing this mainly to contribute in the war against global warming and climate change. Gujarat is a victim of many natural disasters (earthquake, flood, drought, etc.).
We do not want our brothers and sisters living in other parts of the globe to suffer like us. We also feel that we should make sacrifice for the betterment of our next generations. That is why we are spending money and investing our efforts in this direction. We are sacrificing our today for the tomorrow of our next generation. We have a long term vision and want to leave a Green footprint in whatever we do. We want to leave a footprint which the winds of history or minds of historian cannot erase. I request you to join our hands in this historic movement on this historical occasion.
I also feel that by locating us where we are, perhaps the nature has given us the responsibility to lead this movement. We are blessed in the form of strong solar radiation. If only 0.1% of Gujarat’s land is set aside for solar energy, the potential is 10,000 MW of solar power! In wind energy too, we are strategically placed, with a long coast line of 1600 Km. In wind power, with an installed capacity of 2255 MW, we are contributing more than 4500 million units of electricity. Thus, blending the nature’s gift with human endeavour, we are committed to Green and Renewable Energy.
This solar park of 600 MW is again a part of our commitment to find out development processes and technologies which are sustainable. Gujarat is the first State to develop such a Solar Park in the Country. If you see the speed in our solar journey, you will be amazed. Though there was lot of uncertainty, we took a bold initiative and announced the Solar Power Policy in January- 2009. The foundation stone for this Solar Park was laid on 30 December, 2010. Within a short span of one year, this park recorded an installation of 605 MW. Today, it is being dedicated to the nation before you.
The success of this park and the commitment it has received from the investors and generation companies is very motivating. However, my own thinking is to take this movement further. My ultimate end is to produce solar power on roof tops and in farmers’ fields. It is not enough to produce renewable energy. It is also important to produce it in a decentralized way. I need your support. I particularly need your inputs and insight in this journey.
Text of PM’s Address at the 95th Meeting of AIU and National Seminar of Vice Chancellors
April 14, 2021
Baba Saheb Ambedkar had a universal vision: PM Modi
Baba Saheb Ambedkar gave a strong foundation to independent India so the nation could move forward while strengthening its democratic heritage: PM
We have to give opportunities to the youth according to their potential. Our efforts towards this is the only tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar: PM
Present with me in this programme, Gujarat Governor Acharya Shri Dev Vrat ji, the country’s Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani ji, Education Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Singh ji, Chairman of UGC Prof. D.P.Singh ji, Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ami Upadhyay ji, Association of Indian Universities President Prof. Taj Pratap ji, all dignitaries and friends.
Today when the country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, the occasion of Babasaheb Ambedkar ji's birth anniversary also connects us with that great yagna and also with the inspiration of the future. On behalf of the grateful nation and all the countrymen, I pay my respectful homage to Babasaheb.
During the freedom struggle, millions and millions of our freedom fighters dreamt of a harmonious and inclusive India. Babasaheb made the beginning in realizing those dreams in the form of the Constitution to the country. Today India is creating a new future and achieving new dimensions of success by following the same Constitution.
Today, the 95th meeting of the Vice Chancellors of Association of Indian Universities is taking place on this auspicious day. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University has announced the establishment of 'Babasaheb Samarasta Chair'. The four books written by Shri Kishore Makwana ji have also been released on Babasaheb's life, his thoughts and ideals. I congratulate all the dignitaries involved in these efforts.
India has been the mother of democracy in the world. Democracy has been an integral part of our civilization and our way of life. Babasaheb laid a strong foundation to independent India so the nation could move forward while strengthening its democratic heritage. When we read and understand Babasaheb, we realize that he was a person of universal vision.
There is a clear vision of Babasaheb's philosophy in Shri Kishore Makwana ji's books. While one of his books introduces Babasaheb’s “Jeevan Darshan” (philosophy of life), the other focuses on “Vyakti Darshan” (individual philosophy). Similarly, the third book highlights Babasaheb's “Rashtra Darshan” (national philosophy), whereas the fourth book “Aayam Darshan” will introduce his philosophy of dimension to the countrymen. These four philosophies are no less than modern scriptures in themselves.
I would like our new generation in colleges and universities to read more and more of such books. All these dimensions, whether it is the inclusive society, the concern for the rights of the Dalit-deprived society, the question of upliftment and contribution of women, or Babasaheb's vision on education and especially on higher education, will offer an opportunity to the youth of the country to understand Babasaheb.
Doctor Ambedkar would say:
"My three revered deities are -- Knowledge, self-respect and politeness.” Self-respect comes with knowledge and makes a person aware of his or her rights. Through equal rights, social harmony emerges and the country progresses.
We are all familiar with Babasaheb's struggles of life. The position that Babasaheb reached after so many struggles is a great inspiration for all of us. Our education system and universities have this responsibility to carry the country forward on the path shown by Babasaheb Ambedkar. And when it is the issue of common goals and shared efforts as a nation, collective efforts become the means of accomplishment.
Therefore, I think the role of Association of Indian Universities becomes very important. AIU also has the legacy of scholars like Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ji, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Smt. Hansa Mehta and Dr. Zakir Hussain.
Dr. Radhakrishnan ji would say: “The end-product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature”.
It implies that education should be such which should liberate the person, so that he can think openly, and make something new with a new thinking. He believed that we should develop our education management as a unit of the entire world. But at the same time, he emphasized the Indian character of education. This becomes even more important in the global scenario today.
Here special issues were released on the new 'National Education Policy' and plan for its implementation. These issues are detailed documents how National Education Policy is a futuristic policy, a policy of global parameters. You all scholars are familiar with the nuances of the National Education Policy. The purpose of education that Dr. Radhakrishnan ji spoke about is reflected in the core of this policy.
I am told that this time the theme of the seminar is - 'Implementing National Educational Policy-2020 to Transforming Higher Education in India'. All of you deserve congratulations for this.
I have been constantly discussing NEP with experts. National Education Policy is as practical as its implementation.
You have dedicated your entire life to education. You all know very well that every student has his own capability and capacity. Based on these capabilities, students and teachers also have three questions.
First: What can they do?
Second: What is their potential if they are properly taught?
And, third, what they want to do?
What a student can do is his inner strength. But if we add institutional strength to his inner strength, his development becomes expansive. With this combination, our youth can do what they want to do. Therefore, the country’s special emphasis is on skill development. As the country is moving ahead with the mission of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat, the role and demand of skilled youths is also increasing.
In view of the strength of skills, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had placed greater emphasis on the collaboration of educational institutions and industries decades ago. Today, the country has immense opportunities, and there are new industries of modern times. India is being looked upon as a future centre of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Robotics, mobile technology, geo-informatics, smart healthcare and defence sector. The country is taking huge steps to meet these requirements.
Indian Institutes of Skills are being set up in three big metropolitans of the country. The first batch of the Indian Institute of Skills has already started in Mumbai a few months ago in December. The Future Skills Initiative was launched with NASSCOM in 2018. This initiative offers training in more than 150 skill sets in 10 emerging technologies.
The new National Policy on Education also provides for NETF which emphasizes the maximum use of technology in education. We want all universities to be multi-disciplinary. We want to give flexibility to students so that they can complete courses anywhere easily through the easy entry-exit and Academic Bank of Credit. Every university in the country will have to work together to achieve all these goals. All the Vice Chancellors have to pay special attention to this.
A huge skill pool will be created in our universities for the new possibilities that we can create in the country. All of you are requested to work in this direction more expeditiously and the work should be completed within a stipulated time.
The country is rapidly transforming the lives of the poor, Dalits, the victims, the exploited and the deprived following the footsteps of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Babasaheb talked about equal opportunities and equal rights. Today, schemes like Jan Dhan accounts are leading to financial inclusion of every person and through DBT money is reaching directly to their accounts. The BHIM UPI that was launched for the digital economy has become a great strength for the poor today. Today, every poor person is getting a house and free electricity connection. Similarly, work is in the progress to provide clean water to villages under the Jal Jeevan Mission.
When there was a corona crisis, the country stood up for the poor and the labourers. There is no discrimination among the poor and the rich in the world's largest vaccination program. This is the path shown by Babasaheb and these are his ideals.
Babasaheb always emphasized on women empowerment and made many efforts in this direction. It is with this vision that the country is giving new opportunities to its daughters today. From toilets at home and schools to combat roles in the army, women are at the centre of every policy of the country today.
Similarly, the country is working to spread Babasaheb's message to the people. The places associated with Babasaheb are being developed as Panch Teerth.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to dedicate the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre. Today, this Centre is emerging as a centre of research on social and economic issues and on Babasaheb's life.
Today, we are close to 75 years of independence, and we have goals for the next 25 years. The country’s future, the future goals and successes of the country are linked to our youth. It is our youth who will fulfill these resolutions. We have to give opportunities to the youth of the country to the best of their ability.
I am confident that our collective resolve and conscious efforts of the education world will realise this dream of a New India.
Our efforts and the hard work will be our tribute to Babasaheb.
With these good wishes, I once again thank you all very much. I wish you all the very best on Navratri. I also extend my special greetings on the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar.