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Friends,

You have been working non-stop for the last 36 hours to solve challenging problems.

Hats off to your energy. I do not see fatigue, only and only freshness.

I see satisfaction of a task well-accomplished. I think this sense of satisfaction comes also from Chennai’s special breakfast – Idli, Dos, Vada-Sambar.  The hospitality offered by the city of Chennai is extraordinary in its warmth. I am confident that everybody here, particularly our visitors from Singapore, must have enjoyed Chennai.

Friends,

I congratulate the winners of the hackathon. And, I congratulate each and every young friend assembled here, particularly my student friends. Your willingness to confront challenges and find workable solutions, your energy, your enthusiasm is of much greater value than just winning a competition. 

My young friends, here we have solved many problems today. I specially like the solution about cameras to detect who is paying attention. And now what will happen you know, I will talk to my speaker in the Parliament. And am sure it will be very useful to the parliamentarians.

For me, each of you is a winner. You are winners because you are not afraid of taking risks. You are committed to your efforts without worrying about the results.

I will also take this opportunity to specially thank Mr. Ong Ye Kung, Education Minister, Govt. of Singapore and Nanyang Technical University (NTU) for extending help and support to make the India-Singapore Hackathon a grand success.

From the Indian side, the Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Human Resource development, IIT-Madras and the All India Council for Technical Education have all done a fantastic job to ensure that the 2nd edition of India-Singapore Hackathon is extremely successful.

Friends,

There are few things as satisfying as seeing an effort one is associated from the very beginning become vibrant and successful.

I had suggested this idea of a Joint Hackathon during a previous visit to Singapore. Last year, this was organised in Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. This year it is being organised in the historic, yet modern Campus of IIT, Madras.

Friends,

I have also been told that last year, the focus of the hackathon was competition. This time each team consists of students of both countries who have worked together to solve problems. So it can be safely said we have moved from competition to collaboration.

This is the strength that we need, to bear jointly, on the challenges that both our countries face.

Friends,

Hackathons like this are great for youngsters. Participants get access to state of the art technology for the solution of global problems. And, they have to do it in a time frame.

Participants can test their ideas, their Innovative Skills. And, I firmly believe that the solutions found in today’s hackathons are the start-up ideas for tomorrow.

We in India have been doing the Smart India Hackathon for the last few years.

This initiative brings together Government Departments, people associated with Industry, and all premier Institutes.

We incubate, fund and handhold solutions from the Smart India hackathon and try converting them into start-ups.

On similar lines, I hope that NTU, MHRD and AICTE will jointly explore the possibility of creating ventures on ideas from this joint Hackathon.

Friends,

Today India is poised to grow into a Five Trillion dollar economy.

For that Innovation and start-ups will play a crucial role.

Already, India is among the Top Three Start-up Friendly Ecosystems. During the last five years, we have given great emphasis to encourage Innovation and Incubation.

Programmes like Atal Innovation Mission, PM Research Fellowships, Start-up India Abhiyan are the foundation of 21st century India, an India that promotes a culture of innovation.

We are now trying to give exposure to modern technology like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain to our students as early as in 6th grade.

From school to research in higher education, an ecosystem is being created that becomes a medium for innovation.

Friends,

We are encouraging Innovation and Incubation for two big reasons, One is - we want easy solutions to solve India's problems, to make life easier. And another, we, in India want to find solutions for the whole world.

Indian Solutions for Global Application - this is our goal and our commitment.

We would also like our cost effective solutions to be available to serve the needs of the poorest countries - Indian innovation in support of the poorest and the most deprived, no matter where they live.

Friends, I genuinely believe that technology unites people, even across countries, across continents. I welcome the suggestions of Minister Ong.

Let me take this opportunity to propose a similar Hackathon involving those Asian countries that may be interested in participating, with support from NTU, Government of Singapore and Government of India.

Let best brains in Asian countries compete to offer innovative solutions for reducing ‘Global Warming and Climate Change’.

To conclude, I once again congratulate all the participants and organizers for making this initiative a grand success.

You are in Chennai, which offers rich culture, great heritage and food. I request all participants, especially our friends from Singapore, to enjoy their stay in Chennai. Take this opportunity to visit places like Mahabalipuram which is famous for its stone carvings and stone temples. They are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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