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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 04.11.2015

The first ever three-day Visitor’s Conference at Rashtrapati Bhavan commencedtoday (November 4, 2015)with an interactive session between Industry and Academia, exchange of 44 MoUs and lectures by eminent persons.

Speaking after witnessing the exchange of MoUs, the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee said his constant refrain that we cannot aspire to be a world power without having a single world-class university, has found resonance amongst the institutions, who have now started looking at the international ranking processes in a more proactive and systematic manner. For the first time, two Indian institutions have found place in the top 200 positions in QS rankings. IISc Bangalore at 147th and IIT Delhi at 179th place deserve full praise and compliments. If we provide enough funds to top 10 to 15 institutions for the next 4-5 years, these institutions will certainly storm into the top 100 of global academic rankings within next few years. The National Institutional Rankings Framework put in place by the Ministry of HRD with an India-centric approach will further help our institutions to compete nationally and globally. Apart from giving the nation, the institutions, its students and its alumni a sense of pride, a high rank can help attract quality faculty and meritorious students, open fresh avenues of growth and placement for students, and provide a benchmark for continuous improvement in standards.

The President said innovation is the currency of the future. Innovation converts research into wealth. Unless we recognize this reality and start working in a focused manner on creating a strong innovation culture in our country now, we will be left behind in the march to modernity. Over 60 central institutions have started innovation clubs to provide a platform for interaction between the academic community and grassroots innovators. He was confident that this linkage of grassroots innovators with entrepreneurs and financiers will yield a rich crop of "start ups”.

The President said that brilliant minds, captains of industry and academic leaders of 114 central institutions have come together on a common platform to deliberate on issues concerning the higher education sector for the first time in Rashtrapati Bhavan. As Visitor of central institutions of higher learning, he has visited over 100 institutions and has held seven conferences at Rashtrapati Bhavan so far. He stated that the results achieved in these few years are remarkable and credit goes to the dedicated teamwork of all the stakeholders.

The President said a strong inter-linkage between industry and academia is a critical component for developing the educational and industrial eco-systems. The President concluded quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s words ‘A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." He stated that the gathering at the Conference represents that small body of determined men and women. He said the mission is clear. We have to move forward now.

Earlier on the day, an interactive session between Industry-Academia was organized with CII in which Shri Sumit Mazumder, President, CII; Ms. Shobana Kamineni, Vice President CII; Prof. SK Sopory, Vice Chancellor, JNU; Prof. Devang V. Khakhar, Director, IIT-Bombay and Dr. Swapan Bhattacharya, Director, NITK-Surathkal were participated.

Nobel Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi, Bharat Ratna Prof. CNR Rao and India's foremost agriculture scientist Prof. MS Swaminathan delivered lectures before the exchange of MoUs.

The day was concluded with a banquet hosted by the President for the participants and other dignitaries.

This release issued at 2045 hrs.