Published: 17th August 2020
IITians must pay attention to problems faced by farmers and rural India: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu
The Vice President said that IITs are the pride of the nation and looks up to them for science and technological leadership in the years to come
Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, while inaugurating the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of IIT Delhi said that IITs should be more focused on research that is relevant to society and lay emphasis on finding solutions to problems of rural India. Naidu asked them to work not only for enhancing agri-production, but also give special focus on production of nutritious and protein-rich food.
He emphasised that research should focus on making the lives of people comfortable, quicken the progress and ensure a more equitable world order. "With more than 50% of our population still dependent on agriculture, it is important for IITs to start major research programmes to boost the rural economy through development of sustainable technologies. I am happy to note that IIT Delhi is the national coordinating institute for the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) programme of Ministry of Education and is playing a strong catalytic role. I am told that UBA already has more than 2000 Participating Institutions (PIs), which have adopted more than 10,000 villages," he added.
In his inaugural speech over video conference, he said that Indian institutions will be counted among the world's best only when they start impacting the societies around them by developing optimal and sustainable solutions to the problems faced by the nation. "The research at IITs and other higher education institutes must be relevant to society and focus on finding solutions to various problems faced by mankind from climate change to health issues. There is also a need to promote multidisciplinary research and industry-academia linkage. The higher education institutions must not work in silos and seek to connect with the industry. There should be a symbiotic relationship between the two to take up cutting-edge technology," said the Vice President.
Naidu also called for greater investment in R&D with focus on finding solutions to societal problems. The Vice President urged the private sector to collaborate with the academia in identifying such projects and fund them liberally. "I call upon the private sector, including the industry bodies like CII and Assocham, to collaborate with the academia in identifying such projects and fund them liberally. As a matter of fact, the industry experts in various areas should act as mentors in guiding researchers. This type of collaboration will help in fast-tracking projects and producing quicker results," he said.
Asking the higher education institutions not to work in silos and form a symbiotic relationship with the industry to develop cutting-edge technology, he said the industry experts in various areas should act as mentors in guiding researchers. “This type of collaboration will help in fast-tracking projects and produce quicker results,” he added.
Expressing his happiness that the New Education Policy seeks to promote India as a global study destination, Naidu pointed out that only eight Indian institutions figured in the top 500 globally. He said this situation has to change and there has to be a concerted and collective action from all the stakeholders—governments, universities, educationists and the private sector to bring about a radical improvement in the standards and quality of education of our institutes of higher learning.
Observing that there is a huge potential for India to become a world leader in various technological domains given the demographic advantage and the presence of highly talented youth, the Vice President said, "As Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has always maintained, while science is global, technologies are local. Indian institutions will be counted among the world's best only when they start impacting the societies around them by developing optimal and sustainable solutions to the problems faced by the nation. This is a way forward for Indian institutions to be counted among the world's best and for the nation to regain its rightful place as Vishwa Guru. IITs must take the lead in this journey."
Lauding IIT Delhi for emerging as a leader in the entrepreneurship space, Naidu said, “It is good to note that Institutions such as IIT Delhi are producing job providers rather than job seekers and becoming trendsetters for other institutions in the country”. On this occasion, the Vice President also released the Diamond Jubilee logo and IIT Delhi 2030 strategy document. Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal, Dr V Ramgopal Rao, Director of IIT Delhi and others were present on the occasion.