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Call to focus on innovation

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 13 � Commending IIT Guwahati as an institution adding values to the IIT brand that has played a pioneering role in building the image of contemporary India, DoNER Minister Gen (Retd) VK Singh today exhorted the IIT-ians to translate knowledge into innovations, providing its economic and social value.

�The transfer of knowledge for economic growth has revolutionized the world. The Industrial Revolution in Europe and the Green Revolution in our own country are examples of such transfer,� he said.

Gen Singh, who was addressing the 16th convocation of IIT Guwahati as the chief guest, said that in the present-day world where global economies were interconnected, �knowledge is again recognized as a key resource for achieving economic growth and social development. The knowledge revolution has restructured manufacturing processes, redistributed markets, redefined relations among nations and refined methods of governance.�

A total of 1,232 students were awarded BTech, BDes, MTech, MDes, MSc, MA and PhD degrees. IIT Guwahati has also earned the distinction of entering the elite list of top 100 young universities of the world under 50 years � becoming the only Indian institute to get the honour.

Referring to India�s exploits in information and communication technologies (ICTs) for ushering the knowledge revolution, Gen Singh observed that the significant growth of infrastructure for higher education, national-level initiatives like NPTEL (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning), Virtual Lab, INDEST Consortium of e-resources and the Pan-India Knowledge Network had contributed to the spread of higher education. �Similar ICT-based initiatives are needed for the primary and secondary levels of education and the health sector,� he added.

Stressing the need for tapping the large source of human capital of India for converting it into value, the DoNER Minister said that India�s role and destiny in the world would depend on the quality of her human resources.

�Simultaneously, we have to imbibe in our youths and children the basic tenets of our culture, our commitment to society and about our roles in balancing the ecology and preserving the environment,� he said.

Pointing out that technology development could take place through imitation, transplantation and innovation, Gen Singh cautioned against India becoming a mere destination for outsourcing, as ownership and pride lay not in imitation and transplantation of technology, but in innovation.

�India has done reasonably well in the service industry. But we have to devote our energy to the manufacturing sector with efficient and robust processing techniques. There is an overriding priority to undertake technology development in different fields, and make India a nerve centre of our industrial activities,� he said.

Referring to the mind-blowing ethnic diversity of the Northeast with about 200 different ethnic groups and over 150 spoken languages, and also its rich biodiversity and natural wealth, Gen Singh said that the region presented unique research challenges in humanities, science and technology.

�With the natural hazards of earthquake, flood and erosion and with an inadequate infrastructure and poor connectivity, the region presents huge challenges, and it is natural to expect IIT Guwahati to play a major role in addressing some of these challenges,� he said.

Emphasizing on the multiples roles a knowledge organization had to play, Gen Singh termed dissemination of existing knowledge to the satisfaction of the young minds as a difficult task. Simultaneously, the environment should be created to inculcate the culture of creativity and the spirit for innovation, he said, adding that factors leading to innovation should be searched by the educators and integrated with the teaching-learning system.

Dr RP Singh, chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Guwahati, in his speech, lauded the institute for being globally recognized as one of the finest centres of higher education for science and technology. �This has been possible because of the earnest effort of the students, faculty, staff and the administration of the institute,� he said.

Stressing the need for harnessing the strategic location of the Northeast to transform the region into a business corridor to countries of South Asia, Dr Singh exhorted IIT Guwahati to exploit the advantage and become the educational hub of this region.

Prof Gautam Biswas, Director, IIT Guwahati, while presenting the Director�s Report, stated that IIT Guwahati had entered the elite list of top 100 young universities of the world under 50 years. �IIT Guwahati is the only Indian entry. With this India has joined the top 100 under 50 for the first time. The Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 2014 ranks IIT Guwahati at 87th. The ranking provides �a glimpse into the future, showcasing not those institutions with centuries of history, but the rising stars which show great potential�,� he said.

Dr Jyotiprasad Medhi, Professor Emeritus, Gauhati University and Dr Dipak C Jain, Chaired Professor of Marketing at INSEAD, the international business school with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, were presented with honorary DSc (Honoris Causa) by the chief guest, Gen Singh.

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