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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 30.11.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee attended the XII Convocation of Rajiv Gandhi University at Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh today (November 30, 2013).

Speaking on the occasion, the President said there is urgent need to salvage the declining standards of our country's higher education on top priority. He said if India is to become a world power, we must prove ourselves worthy of it by creating a world class education system.

Pointing out that research plays a crucial role in extending the knowledge frontiers of society, the President said there is need for new thinking and better coordination in the field of higher education to solve numerous problems faced by the society. He said research facilities must be upgraded to international standards to attract the brightest minds. The research temper of the students must be developed and the spirit of innovation ignited in the young minds. He called upon universities to become important platforms for curiosity and creativity.

The President said the Rajiv Gandhi University must prioritize the fields of research that it wishes to undertake. There is scope for conducting innovative research in North East India, a region rich in natural resources and biodiversity. Over-exploitation of natural resources causes environmental degradation and leads to long run unsustainability. The onus is on them to work out alternative growth models, which are sustainable. He called upon the university to carry out inter-disciplinary research on natural resource management. He said the University must conduct research on challenges to hill economy, conflict between traditional and modern institutions, border trade opportunities and integration of the North East economy with the national and global economies.

The President said the Indian civilization has a long standing knowledge tradition. Our ancient universities - Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri – were renowned seats of learning that attracted scholars from outside. Today, our universities lag behind the best universities in the world. According to an international survey, an Indian university or an institution is missing from the top two hundred ranks. We cannot afford to continue with an education system which is below global standards. Our leadership in fields such as science and technology is incumbent on the level of competence of our scientists, academics, engineers and doctors.

This release issued at 1300 hrs