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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 05.07.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee attended the 45th Annual Convocation of IIT Kanpur today (July 5, 2013).

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's vision, institutions of higher learning must combine humanism and science, and he was very happy to see that IIT Kanpur has lived up to Panditji's expectation and vision in several ways. IIT Kanpur revolutionized engineering education in India by ushering in science based engineering. At the same time, it has placed great emphasis on humanities and social sciences by making them an important part of all its undergraduate curricula. The President stated that in a little over fifty years, IIT Kanpur has been able to make itself recognized the world over for its academic excellence. The alumni of IIT Kanpur have done their alma mater, and indeed our country proud whichever profession they chose to pursue, be it science or engineering, teaching or research, entrepreneurship or corporate world, or public service, he said.

Addressing the students, the President urged them to seize every opportunity in their professional life to help solve problems of hunger, malnutrition, and disease. He said that he was very happy to see that in recent years, IIT Kanpur has associated itself with a number of projects which are potentially of great benefit to the citizens of our country: management plan for National Ganga River basin; solar energy initiatives; systems for train tracking and safety for Indian Railways; and zero discharge toilet technology, which was a great success in the recently concluded Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

The President said that our development model envisages higher, sustainable and inclusive growth. To meet these goals, we have to enable science, research and innovation to play a leading role. Today, innovation is not merely an extension of science and technology but an important factor of development. For India to become a knowledge powerhouse, promotion of basic research and innovation, and development of cutting edge technologies are essential. There is a need to speed up the process of discovery, diffusion and delivery of technology solutions. He said he was happy that IIT Kanpur is in the forefront of research in many fields like nanotechnology, telecommunications, space, laser, material science, archaeology and cultural resource management. Its focus on undergraduate research is a novel initiative that would help develop a culture of research, which we needed badly.

The President said that the decade 2010-20 has been declared the decade of innovation in our country. We have formulated the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy this year, for an innovation-led development. This policy emphasizes the need to right-size our expenditure on research and development by encouraging greater private sector participation. It calls for an eco-system where innovation activity thrives, knowledge partnerships forged and resources leveraged for greater investment in innovation. This policy underlines the need to adopt a people-centric approach, to make innovations relevant for the common citizens. Grassroots innovations, with a little mentoring, can be developed into useful, viable products. He called upon the temples of higher learning to take the lead in driving such innovations and said that the Innovation and Incubation Centre of IIT Kanpur is a good initiative in the right direction.

The President said that the urge of students to undergo higher studies in premier institutions abroad to acquire greater expertise and widen their horizon is understandable. But they should retain the sacred link with their motherland. He reminded the students that they have a responsibility to this nation and its citizens.

On the occasion, the President awarded Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) to Shri N.R. Narayana Murthy, founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of Infosys Limited and to eminent Physicist, Dr. Ashoke Sen.

This release issued at 1630 hrs