NEW DELHI, Aug 18: IITs should start major research programmes to boost the rural economy through the development of sustainable technologies, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said.
The research at IITs and other higher education institutes, he said, must be relevant to society and focus on finding solutions to various problems faced by mankind from climate change to health issues.
"Indian institutions will be counted among the world's best only when they start impacting the societies around them by developing optimal and sustainable solutions to the problems faced by the nation. Research should focus on making the lives of people comfortable, quicken the progress and ensure a more equitable world order," Naidu said in his address at the diamond jubilee celebrations of IIT Delhi.
Calling upon the IITs to pay attention to the problems faced by the farmers and rural India, the vice president asked them to work not only for enhancing agri-production, but also specially focus on the production of nutritious and protein-rich food.
"With more than 50 pc of our population still dependent on agriculture, it is important for IITs to start major research programmes to boost the rural economy through the development of sustainable technologies," he said.
"Higher education institutions should not work in silos and form a symbiotic relationship with the industry to develop cutting-edge technology and the industry experts in various areas should act as mentors in guiding researchers. This type of collaboration will help in fast-tracking projects and produce quicker results," he added.
Stressing on the need for greater investment in Research and Development projects which focus on finding solutions to societal problems, Naidu urged the private sector to collaborate with the academia in identifying such projects and fund them liberally.
"There should be greater investment in R and D projects which focus on finding solutions to societal problems. I call upon the private sector, including industry bodies like CII and Assocham, to collaborate with academia in identifying such projects and fund them liberally," he said.
Asserting that the New Education Policy seeks to promote India as a global study destination, Naidu pointed out that only eight Indian institutions figured in the top 500 globally.
"This situation has to change and there has to be a concerted and collective action from all the stakeholders governments, universities, educationists and the private sector to bring about a radical improvement in the standards and quality of education of our institutes of higher learning," he said.
"I am happy to note that the New Education Policy seeks to promote India as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs, thereby helping to restore its role as a Vishwa Guru," he added.
Observing that there is a huge potential for India to become a world leader in various technological domains given the demographic advantage and the presence of highly talented youth, the vice president said, "the need of the hour is to impart quality education". - PTI