Published: 12th November 2019
Invoke the Gandhi in you: Smriti Irani asks students to help rural India develop
Smriti Irani, who had been in charge of the MHRD during the NDA's first government under Modi, said that India has exceptionally excelled in the field of research — at the VIT convocation
India is on the right track to development with more and more women pursuing higher studies and excelling at it, said Minister of Women & Child Development and Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani. But she also said that a lot needs to be done to empower more women and help them to a life of better education. The minister was speaking at the convocation of the Vellore Institute of Technology's Chennai campus.
The union minister, who has been in charge of the MHRD during the NDA's first government under Narendra Modi said that India has exceptionally excelled in the field of research in the past decade and more women are now pursuing higher studies, more than male students in some fields. "The PhD students receiving their degrees today have 32 women and 28 men. And I point this out not to show how women are beating men," quipped the youngest minister in the union cabinet. "I wanted to point out that even though the girls outnumber the boys in some fields, out of the 1328 graduates receiving their degrees today, only 373 are women. We need to work a lot harder to empower women and achieve a state of equality. We have excelled in research and there is proof — from 331 research papers published in 2006 we published 3301 papers in 2016," said the minister.
Picking out graduates whose theses she said she would be interested to read, Smriti said that the students who plan to establish their own firms and start-ups should consider their alma mater for incubating their start-ups. "The AI and deep learning sector is growing exponentially. By 2021 the AI sector will be 40 per cent larger and so will the integrated sectors. AI in health is expected to be worth $6 billion by 2021. AI in agriculture is also expected to grow to be a $ 2.6 billion worth market in two years. But the education technology sector is in for a much larger market of $252 billion in India," said Smriti. "But I would urge you to invoke the Gandhi in you and think of an inclusive future India where the rural sector plays a major role," she added.
Padmaja Chundru, the Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank, who was also present at the ceremony said that the Indian youth needs to think beyond jobs. "We need employers, not employees," said Padmaja. "We are working with MSMEs and self-help groups to nurture talent and empower women in every part of India," she added.
Talking about the PM's $5 trillion promise, VIT Chancellor, G Viswanathan and agreed with the minister and said that women empowerment is a major aspect of stepping towards development. "We need facilities to encourage women's education. I would like to urge the government to make education for all women free of cost. This can be the stepping stone for a gradual progression into free education for all," said the Chancellor. "We have 13 lakh students who want to study medicine and only 60,000 seats in India. Our students are going to Bangladesh, Nepal and even countries like Kazakhstan to study medicine. We need to scale up — under Public-Private partnership of necessary — and provide education for all," he added.