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Greetings to all the dignitaries associated with education, skill, research and such important spheres.
This brainstorming session is happening today at a time when the country is rapidly moving towards transforming the entire ecosystem that gives direction to its personal, intellectual, industrial temperament and talent. Suggestions were solicited from all of you ahead of the budget to give further impetus to this. We had the privilege to interact with millions of people in the country even with regard to the new National Education Policy, and now we all have to move together for its implementation.
Confidence among the youth of the country is as essential for building a self-reliant India. Confidence comes only when the youth have full faith in their education, knowledge and skills. Confidence comes only when he realizes that his education is giving him the opportunity to do his job and also providing the necessary skill.
The new National Education Policy has been formulated with this mindset. We now have to work fast for early implementation of every provision of the National Education Policy from pre-nursery to Ph.D. If the speed was slowed down due to Corona, it is necessary to speed up things and move forward.
This year’s budget will also be very helpful in this direction. The second biggest focus after health in this year’s budget is on education, skill, research and innovation. Better synergy in the universities, colleges and R&D institutions has become the biggest need of our country today. In view of this, Glue Grant has been provided under which necessary mechanisms can be prepared in nine cities.
The emphasis given on apprenticeship, skill development and upgradation in this budget is also unprecedented. All the provisions made in this budget will lead to a massive shift in the country’s approach to higher education. The budget further expands the efforts that have been made to connect education with employability and entrepreneurial capabilities over the years.
It is the result of these experiments that India figures in the top three countries today in terms of scientific publications. We are also among the top three countries in the world in terms of the number of PhDs and the start-up ecosystem.
India is among the world’s top 50 innovative countries in the Global Innovation Index and is doing better continuously. With the sustained promotion of higher education, research and innovation, new opportunities for our students and young scientists are developing very much. And the good thing is that there is satisfactory growth in the participation of daughters in R&D.
For the first time, there is greater focus on Atal Tinkering Labs in schools to Atal Incubation Centers in higher institutions in the country. The new tradition of Hackathons for start-ups has become a major force for both the youth and industry of the country. More than 3,500 start-ups have been nurtured through the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovation.
Similarly, three supercomputers, namelyParamShivay, Param Shakti and Param Brahma, have been set up at IIT BHU, IIT-Kharagpurand IISER, Pune under the National SuperComputing Mission. Plans are afoot to set up such supercomputers in more than a dozen institutions in the country this year. Three Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institutes (SATHIs) are also serving in IITKharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU.
It is important to mention all these things today because it demonstrates the vision and approach of the government. In the 21st century India, we have to move forward, leaving behind the approach of the 19th century.
It is said in our country: व्यये कृते वर्धते एव नित्यं विद्याधनं सर्वधन प्रधानम् ॥ i.e., knowledge is a wealth which grows by sharing it and not limiting it to oneself. Therefore, the knowledge and its dissemination is precious. Limiting knowledge and research is a great injustice to the country’s competence. With this aim, the doors of many sectors like space, atomic energy, DRDO, agriculture, etc. are being opened for the talented youth.
Two more major steps have been taken recently, which will greatly benefit the entire ecosystem of innovation, research and development. For the first time, the country has got Indian solutions which meet the international standards associated with meteorology and the system is being strengthened regularly. This will greatly improve the global competency of R&D and our products.
In addition, a major reform has been undertaken in the field of geo-spatial data recently. Now space data and space technology related to it have been opened for the youth, the young entrepreneurs and start-ups of the country. I urge all the colleagues to use these reforms and take maximum advantage.
This year’s budget has put more emphasis on Institution Making and Access. The National Research Foundation is being set up for the first time in the country. A provision of Rs. 50,000 crore has been made for this. This will give impetus to the interrelationship of the governance structure of research-related institutions to R&D, academia and industry. The more than 100 percent increase in the budget for biotechnology-related research reflects the priorities of the government.
India’s researchers engaged in pharma and vaccines have ensured both safety and respect for the country. The government has already declared seven National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education &Research as institutions of national importance to further strengthen its potential. The role of our private sector and industry in this sector’s R&D is very commendable. I am confident that this role will expand further in the future.
Now, efforts are being made to broaden the scope of biotechnology’s potential in the interest of the country’s food security, nutrition and agriculture. The country has great expectations from the colleagues who are engaged in biotechnology-related research to increase the income of the farmers and improve their lives. I urge all industry colleagues to increase their participation in it. Ten Biotech University Research Joint Industry Translational Clusters (URJITs) are also being created in the country so that the industry can make speedy use of their inventions and innovations. Similarly, we have to work together to improve the participation of research and industry in the Biotech-Farmer programme, Himalayan Bio-resource Mission Programme or Consortium Programme on Marine Biotechnology Network in more than 100 aspirational districts of the country.
Future Fuel and Green Energy is vital for self-sufficiency in our energy sector. Therefore, the Hydrogen Mission announced in the budget is a huge resolution. India has tested hydrogen vehicles. Now we have to move forward together to make hydrogen a utility as a fuel for transport and make it industry ready. In addition, we also have to increase our potential in marine wealth research. The government is also going to launch the Deep Sea Mission. This mission will be goal-oriented and based on a multi-sectoral approach so that we can unlock Blue Economy’s potential completely.
We have to strengthen the collaboration of educational institutions, research institutions and industry. Not only do we have to focus on publishing new research papers, time demands how we ensure that research papers published all over the world are easily available to India’s researchers and students. The government is working on it at its level, but the industry will also have to contribute to it.
We have to remember that Access and Inclusion have become mandatory. And affordability is the biggest pre-condition of Access. Another thing that we have to focus on is how to integrate Global with Local. Today, India’s talent has a lot of demand all over the world. It is important to have a mapping of skill sets in view of the global demand and to prepare youth in the country on that basis.
We have to work together to bring international campuses to India and to adopt the best practices of other countries with collaboration. A concerted effort is also needed to prepare our youth industry ready as well as the effective mechanism of skill up-gradation for new challenges and changing technologies. The Ease of Doing Apprenticeship Program in this budget is also going to benefit the industry and the youth of the country immensely. I am confident that the industry’s participation will also expand in this regard.
Whether it is skill development or research and innovation, it is not possible without understanding it. Therefore, the biggest improvement is being carried out in the education system of the country through the new National Education Policy. Who better than all the experts and academics participating in this webinar knowsthat language plays a vital role in the understanding of the subject? The new National Education Policy encourages greater use of the local language.
Now, it is the responsibility of all academics and peers of every language as to how the best content of the country and the world is prepared in Indian languages. This is entirely possible in this age of technology. We have to ensure that the youth of the country get one of the best contents in Indian languages from primary to higher education. The development of content for medical, engineering, technology, management, etc in Indian languages is very necessary.
I must urge you that there is no dearth of talent in our country. If somebody is from a village or poor who does not know anything but his language, it does not mean that he lacks in talent. We should not let his talent die just only because of the language. He should not be deprived of the development journey of the country. There is talent in the villages, in the poor people and also in the children who have been deprived of one of the major languages. Therefore, it is very important to use that talent for such a big country. Therefore, we have to work on a mission mode to take him out of the language barrier and give an opportunity to his talent to flourish in his language. The National Language Translation Mission announced in the budget will be a great encouragement.
All these provisions and reforms will be fulfilled with the participation of all. Suggestions from the government, educationists, experts and the industry in today’s discussion on how to move the higher education sector through collaborative approach will be very valued. I am told that six themes associated with it will be discussed in detail here in the next few hours.
The country has great expectations from the suggestions and solutions emanating from here. And I would urge you not to waste time on discussing that there should be a change in the policy or in the budget. Now we have to focus on the roadmap for the speedy implementation of new schemes, how they can reach across the country, to the last person, to get rid of minor hurdles in the implementation from April 1 for the next 365 days. We intend to use as much time as we have for effective implementation of the budget provisions from April 1.
I am sure you have experience in different fields. Your thoughts, your experience and your readiness to share some responsibility will definitely give us the desired results. I convey to you all the best wishes for this webinar, for your thoughts and for a very perfect roadmap.
DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.