Karnataka’s Governor and University of Mysore Chancellor, Shri Vajubhai Vala ji, Karnataka’s Higher Education Minister C N Ashwath Narayan ji, University of Mysore Vice-Chancellor Professor G. Hemantha Kumar ji, all teachers, students and parents present on the occasion and ladies and gentlemen! First all, heartiest congratulations to all of you for ‘Mysuru Dasara’ and ‘Nada Habba’!
A few minutes ago, I was looking at the pictures. There may be many restrictions due to the dangers of the Corona, but the excitement of the festival is the same as before notwithstanding the heavy rains that lashed a few days ago which tried to obstruct the enthusiasm. My thoughts are with all the affected families. The Central Government and Karnataka Government are making all possible efforts to provide relief.
Friends, today is a very important day for you. Normally, I try to meet my young friends face to face during such occasions. It would have been quite a different experience to come to Mysore to become part of the centenary convocation of the glorious heritage of University of Mysore. But due to Corona, we have been virtually connected.
Friends, University of Mysore is an important centre of the great education system of ancient India and the aspirations and capabilities of future India. This University has realized the vision of "Rajarshi" Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar and M. Visvesvaraya Ji.
It’s a pleasant coincidence for me that Rajarshi Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar had addressed the first Convocation of the University of Mysore on this day 102 years ago. Since then this illustrious campus has seen many such friends taking initiation at such functions and have contributed immensely to the nation building. Several stalwarts like Bharat Ratna Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ji have inspired several students of this educational institution. Therefore, we along with your families have great trust in you and there are high expectations from you at the same time. Today, your university, teachers and professors are also handing over the nation and society’s responsibility to you, along with the degrees.
Friends, education and resolution through initiation (दीक्षा) are considered as two important stages of youth in our country. This has been our tradition for thousands of years. When we talk of initiation, it is not just an opportunity to get a degree. Today’s day inspires us to make new resolutions for the next stage of life. Now you are moving from a formal university campus to the bigger campus of real life. This will be such a campus where application of your acquired knowledge will help.
Friends, the great Kannada writer and thinker Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar ji has said -- शिक्षणवे जीवनद बेलकु. It means that education is a medium which shows light at difficult times in life. At a time, when our country is undergoing a vast change, his words are very much relevant. In the last five-six years, continuous efforts are being made so that India’s education system helps the students to move ahead as per the needs of the 21st century. Specially, greater focus has been laid on the infrastructure creation of the Higher Education and Structural Reforms. Efforts are being made at qualitative and quantitative levels to make India the global hub of higher education and to make our students competitive.
Friends, there were only 16 IITs in the country in 2014 even after so many years of independence. In the last six years, on an average, a new IIT has been opened every year. One of them is also at Dharwad, Karnataka. As of 2014 there were only 9 IIITs. In the subsequent five years, 16 IIITs have been established. In the last five-six years, seven new IIMs have been established, whereas there were only 13 IIMs in the country before that. Similarly, there were only seven AIIMS which were providing services for almost six decades. Since 2014, 15 AIIMS have either been established or are in the process of starting.
Friends, efforts in higher education over the last 5-6 years are not limited to only opening new institutions but work has also been done on reforms in governance in these institutions to ensure gender equality and social participation. More autonomy is being given to such institutions so that they can take decisions according to their needs. The first IIM Act gave more rights to IIMs across the country. There was also a great lack of transparency in medical education. Emphasis has been given to rectify this anomaly. Today, the National Medical Commission has been created in the country to bring more transparency in medical education. Two new laws are also being enacted for initiating reforms in the studies of Homeopathy and other Indian medical practices. With the reforms in medical education, more seats are being ensured to the students for medical studies.
Friends, Rajarshi Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in his first Convocation address had said that “it would have been nice if I could see not one but 10 lady graduates.” Today, I can see so many daughters who have got the degrees. I have been told that today the number of girls is more than the boys who have been awarded degrees. This is another hallmark of the transforming India. Today, the Gross Enrolment Ratio of girls in education is more than boys at all the levels. The participation of girls in various fields of studies related to innovation and technology has also increased. Four years ago, the enrolment of girls in the IITs was only eight percent, which has more than doubled to 20 percent this year.
Friends, the new National Education Policy is going to provide a new direction and impetus to all the reforms in the education sector. The National Education Policy is a major movement to bring about fundamental changes in the entire education set-up from pre-nursery to PhD. Focus is being made on the multi-dimensional approach so as to make our enabling youth more competitive. Endeavour is that our youth should be flexible and can adopt the fast changing nature of job. Skilling, Re-skilling and Up-skilling is the greatest need of the hour. The National Education Policy has also paid a lot of attention on it.
Friends, I am happy that the University of Mysore has shown a commitment and eagerness to implement this policy. I think that you are starting multi-disciplinary programmes on the basis of NEP. Now you can choose your subjects according to your dreams and aspirations. You can study both the global technology as well as local culture simultaneously. You can put that technology to use for the local products.
Friends, these all-round reforms that are taking place in our country have never happened before. If some decisions were taken, then it used to be for a particular sector and as a result other sectors were left out. In the last six years, there have been multiple reforms in multiple sectors. If the NEP is ensuring the future of the education sector of the country, then it is also empowering the youth. If the farm reforms are empowering the farmers, then labour reforms are providing growth, security and thrust to both the labour as well as the industry. If Direct Benefit Transfer has ensured improvement in the Public Distribution System, then RERA has provided security to home buyers. If the GST was introduced to free the country from the web of taxes, then a new Faceless Assessment initiative has been launched recently to spare the tax payers from all the problems. For the first time, Insolvency Bankruptcy Code has provided a legal frame work for insolvency and investments are growing in the country through FDI reforms.
Friends, you must have noticed the increase in the speed and scope of reforms in the last 6-7 months. Necessary changes are being made for the growth of every sector, be it farming, space, defence, aviation or labour. Now the question is why it is being done? This is being done for the crores of youth like you. It is being done to make this decade the decade of India. This decade will belong to India if we strengthen our foundation. This decade has come with several opportunities for the young India.
Friends, being one of the best education institutes in the country, the University of Mysore will also have to innovate according to the new emerging situation. You have to constantly take inspiration from the former Vice-Chancellor, great poet-writer 'Kuvempu' ji. You will need to focus more on Incubation Centers, Technology Development Centers, 'Industry-academic linkage' and 'Inter-disciplinary research'. It is also expected of the University that it would promote its tradition of promoting research on Local Culture, Local Art and other social issues along with related global and contemporary issues.
Friends, I have a request to you - now that you are passing out of this great campus - you should always try to achieve excellence on the basis of your individual strengths. You do not need to limit yourself and fit into a box. Perhaps, the box in which you are trying to fit into is not made for you. Take time out for yourself, introspect and experience everything which is being presented to you by the life. This will greatly help you in choosing the right path.
New India is a land of opportunities. You must have noticed that our students have embarked so many Start-ups even during the Corona crisis. These Start-ups are a great force not only for Karnataka, but the country as well. I am hopeful that you will achieve many things for the country based on your strength and talent. Your growth will not be your own, but it will be the growth of the country. If you become self-dependent then India will also become self-reliant. Once again, my best wishes to all the friends for their better future.
Many many thanks!