Today is August 11. One hundred and ten years ago, Khudiram Bose had made the supreme sacrifice on this day for the motherland. I bow down to the brave revolutionary, I pay homage to him on behalf of the country.
Those people who sacrificed their lives for freedom, those who sacrificed everything, they became immortals, and they became a source of inspiration. However, we are those who did not get the good opportunity to sacrifice our lives in freedom struggle but we are also fortunate in the sense that we can lead our lives for a free India, we can feel a new sense of joy in life by dedicating our lives for nation building. Today, the kind of confidence I see in you people, the kind of enthusiasm that I see on your faces that is assuring to me that we have been moving the right direction.
IIT Bombay is among those institutions of a free India which were conceived to provide a new direction to nation building through technology. You people have been consistently engaged in this mission for the last 60 years. This journey which started with 100 students has now reached to 10,000 students. During this period, you people have established yourself among the top institutions of the world.
This institution has been celebrating its diamond jubilee. But all those diamonds are even more important, all those diamonds who are sitting here before me, all those who are being awarded degree today and all those who are making India proud across the world after receiving degree from here.
Today, on this occasion, first of all, I would like to sincerely congratulate and convey my regards to all those students of India and abroad and their families who are receiving degree here.
Today, the degree of ‘Doctor of Science’ has been awarded to Dr. Romesh Wadhwani on this occasion. I convey my best wishes to Dr. Wadhwani. Romesh Ji has worked throughout his life to link technology with the requirements of the common people. He has taken upon himself a great task of creating the environment for generating employment, skills, innovation and entrepreneurship through Wadhwani Foundation.
As an institution, it’s a matter of pride for all of you that several students like Wadhwani Ji who have passed out from here have been making active contribution in the development of the country today.
It is the result of constant efforts made by IIT Bombay in the last six decades that it has carved out a place for itself in the select Institutions of Eminence of the country. And you people have been just informed that you are going to get the financial assistance of Rs. 1,000 crore which is going to be used in the development of infrastructure of the institution. I congratulate you people and the entire team for this thing as well.
The nation is proud of the IITs, and what IIT graduates have achieved. The success of the IITs led to the creation of several engineering colleges around the country. They were inspired by the IITs, and this led to India becoming one of the world’s largest pools of technical manpower. The IITs have built Brand India globally. And they did it over the years. IIT graduates went to America and excelled there: first as students in Universities and then as technology experts, entrepreneurs, executives and in academics. It was a large number of IIT students who built the IT sector in India, brick by brick..or I should say, click by click. Earlier Indians with the IT sector were considered hard working and intelligent - but mainly in other nations, mainly in the US. Now India has become the destination for IT development.
And today, IIT graduates are at the forefront of some of the best start-ups in India. These are start-ups that are also at the forefront of solving so many national problems. To those working in the start-up movement or are planning to start one after College, please do remember that the biggest corporations of today were start-ups of yesterday. They were the result of idealism combined with hard-work and diligence. Keep at it, do not give up, and you will succeed.
You are fortunate to have lived in a campus like this, in a city like Mumbai. You have a lake on one side, and the hills too. Occasionally, you share your campus with crocodiles and leopards. It is still August, but I am sure the mood is indigo today! I am sure the last four years were a wonderful learning experience for you all.
There is so much to look back and remember the college festivals, inter hostel sports, student-faculty associations. Did I mention some studies as well? You have received what can be called the best that our education system has to offer. Students here represent the diversity of India. From different states, speaking different languages, from different backgrounds, you merge here in pursuit of knowledge and learning.
IIT Bombay is among those institutions of the country which have been working on the new technologies for a New India.
It will be decided though innovations and new technology that in what way and to what extent the world would be developed in the next two decades. In such a situation the role of your institution, the role of IITs becomes extremely important. Whether it is 5G broadband technology, or be it artificial intelligence or be it block chain technology or be it big data analysis or be it machine learning, all these technologies are going to be very important for smart manufacturing and for the vision of smart cities.
The new building which will be inaugurated after a while that building is going to be very important in this direction. The department of energy science and engineering and the centre for environmental science and engineering are going to function from this building. Given the fact that energy and environment are the biggest challenges for the country and the world, I am confident that an excellent environment of research in these two fields will be created at this place in the near future.
I have been told that a solar lab will also be established in the building that will help the students in research related to the solar energy. In addition to solar energy, bio-fuel too is going to be a big source of clean energy in the coming days. I have already said this thing in Delhi on the occasion of the World Bio-Fuel Day that the technology related to this field should be taught in every small and big engineering institutions and research should be conducted on it.
The country and the world knows IITs as Indian Institute of Technology. However, today the definition for IITs has changed a bit for us. Now these institutions are not only confined to the study of the subjects related to technology but today IITs have become India’s Instruments of Transformation.
And when we talk about transformation then the Start Up revolution towards which the country is moving, IITs are a big source of that revolution. Today, the world considers IITs as the nursery of Unicorn Start Ups. It means that the Start Ups that are taking off now in India it is believed that the value of these Start Ups in future possibly will be more than a billion dollar. In a way, these are reflection of those technologies in which the world sees future.
Today, the billion dollar Start Ups that are there in the world, dozens of them are being founded by those people who have passed out from IITs. Today, I see several such unicorn founders of future before me.
Innovations and Enterprise are going to be the foundation stone for making India a developed economy. A long term sustainable technology-led economic growth is possible on this foundation.
And precisely this is the reason because of which we have started several programmes like Start Up India and Atal Innovation Mission and the results of these schemes are now becoming visible. Today, India is the world’s second largest ecosystem in the field of Start Ups. More than 10,000 Start Ups have been nurtured in the country and elaborate arrangements have been made to provide funds to them.
Today, we have been constantly moving upwards in the ranking of Innovation Index. It means that the results of our holistic approach from education to environment are becoming visible to the world. Special attention has been paid to the development of infrastructure in the field of higher education to develop the scientific temperament and for creation of environment for conducting research in the country.
Innovation is the buzzword of the 21st century. Any society that does not innovate will stagnate. That India is a emerging as a hub for start-ups shows that the thrust for innovation is very much there. We must build on this further and make India the most attractive destination for innovation and enterprise. And, this will not happen through government efforts alone. It will happen through youngsters like you. The best ideas do not come in government buildings or in fancy offices. They come in campuses like yours, in the minds of youngsters like you.
My appeal to you and many other youngsters like you is: Innovate in India, Innovate for humanity.
From mitigating climate change to ensuring better agricultural productivity, From cleaner energy to water conservation, From combating malnutrition to effective waste management. Let us affirm that the best ideas will come from Indian laboratories and from Indian students. On our part, we are doing everything possible to foster a spirit of research and innovation in India.
Seven new IITs, 7 new IIMs, 2 IISER and 11 new IIITs have been approved in the last four years. A program called RISE - Revitalization of Infrastructure and Systems in Education – has been launched. A target of arranging more than one lakh crore rupees in the next four years has been set under the scheme. New institutions, new infrastructure is essential, however, the skilled manpower that will be created there is even more important and the government has been paying attention to it.
At present the country trains nearly 7 lakh engineers in its campuses. However, some of them pass out with mere degrees. Their skills could not be developed in the expected manner. I would like to appeal to the professors and experts present here that they should ponder over this thing that how the quality can be improved. They should come up with the recommendations. It is a collective responsibility of all of us to ensure not only quantity but quality as well. And the government is also trying for this thing.
You people may be aware that the government has been running the Prime Minister’s Research Fellows scheme. Under the scheme resources are made available to one thousand talented engineering students in the country for conducting research. Not only this, the arrangements for admission of these students in the reputed institutions like IITs and IISc for doing PhD have also been made for those who have been selected under this scheme. This fellowship has been providing you people an excellent opportunity for conducting research while staying in the country. The students of IIT Bombay should also take advantage of this scheme.
All those people who are present here today they are either teachers or the future leaders. You people are going to work in the field of policy making for the country or for some institution. As you people have been preparing yourselves for the new Start Ups through technology and innovation therefore you people would certainly have some concrete vision about how you would go about this thing.
It’s not easy to give up the old methods of doing things. This is the problem with the society and with the system of governance too. Just imagine, the habits that have been developed over a period of thousands of years, the systems which have been going on for hundreds of years, how difficult it would be to convince those systems to change themselves. However, when dedication, motivation and aspiration are at the centre of your thinking and action then you will succeed in overcoming all the obstacles.
Today, the government has been working while keeping in the mind the aspirations of all of you, aspirations of millions and millions of youth of the country. I can only appeal this much to you people that you should shed this dilemma from your mind that whether you will succeed or not, whether you should do it or not, you should shed this dilemma and instead focus on your aspirations. Higher goals, high thinking will further inspire, dilemma will limit your talent to boundaries.
Just having aspirations is not enough, setting a goal is also important. Those people amongst you who have been passing out from the institution today or those who will pass out in the coming years, all of you are going to join some or some other institution, you people are going to lay the foundation for a new institution. I am hopeful that you people will take into consideration the requirements of the country and her people in every such thing. There are several problems and you people can find solution for them.
This government is standing by your side in every such effort made by you people, with every such idea of people that is aimed at ensuring the ease of living of 1.25 billion countrymen and that will make their lives easier. And that is why whenever I talk to the students, scientists and entrepreneurs like you then I certainly discuss the city based science clusters around all the institutions like IITs.
The idea is that a lot of people like students, teachers and people related to the industry and Start Ups should get the opportunity to work and conduct research and development at one place as per each other’s requirements.
For example take that area of Mumbai where your institute is located, I have been informed that there are nearly 800 colleges and institutes here in Greater Mumbai and nearly 9 lakh youths are studying in this region. And today when we have gathered here for the convocation, this is also the occasion of diamond jubilee for this institute and I would like to connect you people with a solemn pledge on this occasion. Whether IIT Bombay can become a city-based centre of excellence?
You are very well aware that the government has granted more autonomy to Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) by enacting a law. The government has also placed emphasis on this thing that IIM alumni who have completed their education should now play an even more active role in these institutions.
They have been given representation in the board of governors of IIMs. I believe that institutions like IITs should also consider this kind of steps to take advantage of their alumni.
If this happens then these alumni will also get an opportunity for doing something better for their alma mater. Every student sitting before me is an alumnus or alumna in future and all of you will agree with my idea that alumni are such kind of power who can play an important role in taking this institution to a new height. I have been told that IIT Bombay alone has more than 50 thousand alumni. You people can take a lot of benefits from their knowledge and experience.
You people have worked extremely hard to be here. There will be many of your classmates who would have reached here by struggling against deprivation. You people have wonderful capabilities and today you are getting excellent results of that. However, there are millions of such youths who work hard to be here but they could not succeed. It is not like that they lack talent. They could not get this chance in absence of opportunities and guidance. You can bring about a new light, a new energy and a new spirit in the lives of several such students by guiding them.
It would be even better if IIT Bombay formulates an outreach program for nearby schools. The arrangements should be made to bring young children into this campus so that they can be inspired for doing research in science. You people would be aware that a massive programme of Atal Tinkering Labs has now been running in the schools across the country. And kids have been introduced to new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and 3D Printing in the program.
The outreach program for schools will also help in that mission. It is very much possible that sometimes elders like us and all of you might get some new inspiration from the new ideas of those young brains.
The degree that has been awarded to you people today, this symbolises your dedication towards your goal. Please keep this thing in mind that this is just a milestone, the real challenge is waiting for you people in the outside world.
Whatever you people have achieved till now and what you are going to achieve in future, the hopes of your families, the hopes of 1.25 billion countrymen and your own hopes are attached with that. Whatever you people are going to do will also build the future of new generations. And the New India will also become stronger.
May you succeed in fulfilling the millions and millions of expectations, I once again convey my best wishes to you people for this thing. I congratulate you people. I got the opportunity to spend some time amongst you people and I consider myself highly obliged for this opportunity.
Thank you very much!