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PM’s address at the Convocation of IIT, Guwahati

PM’s address at the Convocation of IIT, Guwahati

Namaskar!

Union Minister of Education Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank Ji, Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonwal Ji, my colleague Minister of State for Education Shri Sanjay Dhotre Ji, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Dr. Rajiv Modi Ji, Members of the Senate, distinguished invitees to this Convocation, faculty members, staff and my dear Students!

I am glad that today I am with you in this 22nd convocation of IIT Guwahati. Although Convocation is a special day in the life of any student, this time it is a different experience for the students who are a part of this convocation. During the Pandemic, the form of the convocation has also changed a lot. If it was organized under normal conditions, today I would have been with you in person. But still, this day, this moment is equally important and equally valuable. I congratulate all of you, my young friends! My best wishes to you all for your future endeavours!

Friends,

It is said that, ज्ञानम् विज्ञान सहितम् यत् ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसे अशुभात्; that is, knowledge, including science, is the means to get rid of all the problems and sufferings. This spirit, this energy to do something new for serving people has kept our country alive in this millennium-old journey. We are proud that our institutions like IITs are taking this idea forward today. You all must be feeling that after coming here how much you have transformed; how much has your thinking process expanded! When you started your journey in IIT Guwahati, since then, you would have been seeing a new personality within you. This is the most valuable gift of your professors to this institution.

Friends,

I believe clearly and firmly that the future of a nation depends upon what its youth are thinking today. Your dreams are going to shape the reality of India. Therefore, this is the time to be ready for the future; this is the time to be fit for the future. As the economy and society is changing today, bringing modernity, the Indian science and technology landscape also needs to make many important changes. I am glad that IIT Guwahati has already started with these efforts. I am told that IIT Guwahati is the first such IIT to introduce a two-year research programme on e-mobility. I have also been informed that IIT Guwahati is also leading the integration of Science and Engineering in all B.Tech level programmes. I am confident that these inter-disciplinary programmes will make our education all round and futuristic. And when an institution goes ahead with such a futuristic approach, its results are also visible in the present times.

IIT Guwahati has proved this by developing COVID-19 related kits, such as Viral Transport Media, viral RNA extraction kit and RT-PCR kits, during this pandemic. By the way, I can understand very well how difficult it has been for you during this pandemic to conduct academic sessions and continue with your research work. But still you have achieved this with great success. I congratulate you all for your efforts and contribution towards making the country self-reliant.

Friends,

You are well aware of the great significance of our education system for a self-reliant India. In the past, you must have read and discussed a lot about the National Education Policy. National Education Policy is only for our 21st century youth like you; the youth who will lead the world and will make India a global leader in science and technology. Moreover, there are many such things included in this education policy which have been at the top of the wish list of students like you.

Friends,

I believe that you must have realized in your Journey of Education that education and exams should not become a burden for our students; students should get more freedom to read their favourite subjects. Therefore, the National Education Policy has been made multi-disciplinary; subjects have been given flexibility; and multiple entry and exit opportunities have been given. And most importantly, the country’s New Education Policy will link education with technology, making technology an integral part of our students’ thinking. That is, the students will not only study about technology, but will also study through technology. National Education Policy has opened up the path to ensure that Artificial Intelligence is used in education and online learning is increased.

National Education Technology Forum is also being formed so that the role of technology increases from Teaching and learning to administration and assessment. We are moving towards an eco-system where our youth will learn from technology and will also innovate new technology to teach. There are infinite possibilities for IIT friends. You have to think about new software, new devices and gadgets that will revolutionize the process of education. This is an opportunity for all of you; bring out your best and utilize it.

Friends,

A National Research Foundation i.e. NRF has also been proposed in the NEP to enrich the research culture in our country. NRF will coordinate with all funding agencies regarding research funding and provide funds for all disciplines, be it science or humanities. The potential research which will have the scope for practical implementation will be recognized and implemented. For this, coordination and close linkage will be established between government agencies and industry. I am delighted to inform that today around 300 of our young fellows are being awarded PhD in this convocation, and this is a very positive trend. I believe that all of you will not stop here; rather research will become a habit for you and will remain a part of your thought process.

Friends,

We all know that there are no boundaries for knowledge. The National Education Policy talks of opening up the education sector of the country. The aim is to make sure that the campuses of foreign universities also are set up in the country and our students get global exposure here. Similarly, research collaboration and student exchange programmes between Indian and global institutions will also be promoted. The credit that our students will acquire in foreign universities will also be taken into consideration in the institutions of our country. Moreover, National Education Policy will also establish India as a global education destination. Our high performing institutions will also be encouraged to set up campuses abroad. IIT Guwahati has to play a key role in this vision of expansion beyond boundaries. This region of the Northeast is also the centre of India’s Act East Policy.

This region is also a gateway to India’s connectivity and relations with South East Asia; the mainstay of India’s relations with these countries has been Culture, Commerce, Connectivity and Capacity. Now education is going to be another new medium of our engagement. IIT Guwahati can become major centre for the same. This will also give the North East a new identity, and new opportunities will also be created here. Today, the infrastructure related to railways, highways, airways, and waterways are being built here to give impetus to the development of the Northeast. This is creating new opportunities for the entire Northeast. IIT Guwahati also has a major role in these developmental works.

Friends,

Today after this convocation some students will remain here, while some will leave. Other students of IIT Guwahati are also listening to me at the moment. On this special day, I will urge you and also give some suggestions. Friends, this region too has made a contribution to your lives; and you have seen, understood and felt this region. You should think about the challenges of this region and how your research can be connected to the possibilities in this region? For example, solar energy, wind energy, bio-mass and hydro-electric energy also have immense possibilities here. Would any of our innovations boost the tourism industry here or the rich wealth of rice, tea and bamboo?

Friends,

This region also possesses rich bio-diversity and immense traditional knowledge & skills! The transmission of this traditional skill, knowledge, and even of science and technology has been through traditional routes. One generation transferred the knowledge to the next generation and this trend has been going on. Can we link it with modern technology? Can we create new technology with this fusion? I believe that through a modern and scientific process, we can develop cultural knowledge, skills and beliefs into rich and cutting edge professional development programmes. I suggest that IIT Guwahati must play a pivotal role in it, and set up a Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems. Through this, we can contribute a lot to the Northeast, the country and the world, which will be invaluable.

Friends,

Assam and Northeast in general is a region in the country which is full of possibilities. But the region is plagued with problems like floods, earthquakes, landslides and many industrial disasters. Energy and efforts of these states are spent in dealing with these disasters. To deal with these problems effectively, a high degree of technological support and intervention is required. I will also request IIT Guwahati to establish a Centre for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction. This centre will also provide expertise in dealing with the disasters in this region, and will also turn disasters into opportunities. I am confident that IIT Guwahati and all the IIT students will move forward and this resolve will also be proved. Friends, apart from focusing on local issues, we also have to set our eyes on the bigger canvas of global technologies. For example, can we find out the niche areas in our research and technology? Can we identify and prioritize such areas, subjects on which the country needs to focus more?

Friends,

When you go anywhere in the world, you will be a proud IITian! But I expect from you that your success, your research contributions should be such that IIT Guwahati can proudly say that you are its student. I am confident that you will give this opportunity, this Guru Dakshina to IIT Guwahati and your professors. The whole country, 130 crore countrymen believe in you. May you continue to be successful in the same way, and lead the success of self-reliant India, and you will scale several new heights. The dreams that you have cherished in life, may all those dreams turn into resolutions, may the resolutions be fulfilled with hard work and you continue to achieve great successes! With many such wishes, I also wish you and your family’s good health. Most importantly during these times of corona, you must take care of yourself, your family, the people around you and your friends. Help everyone to stay healthy and you too stay healthy!

My best wishes to all of you!

Thank you very much,

Thank you all!