GUWAHATI, Jan 19 - Asserting that the 21st century belonged to India, especially its youth that comprise 65 per cent of its populace, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the nation stood at the threshold of emerging as a manufacturing hub and a global information technology superpower.
But for this, the Prime Minister added, technological institutes such as IIT-Guwahati will have to play a key role.
Modi, who was addressing a gathering of students of higher education including IIT-G, IIIT, Gauhati University and Cotton College at an event �North-east: seeking a new leadership through knowledge� at IIT Guwahati, said that the Indian economy was on an upswing and that the day was not far when India would emerge as the biggest supplier of technical manpower to the entire world.
�Our youths are the driving force of the nation. Today�s youths dream big and are capable of realising those dreams. They are job creators and are no more job seekers. The need is to harness and sustain this amazing youth power through skill development,� he said.
Modi said that the challenge was to go beyond making India self-reliant and transform it into the world�s biggest manufacturing hub.
�From the �Make in India� mission to the recently-launched �Start-up India�, our thrust is clear and unambiguous. Skill development is central to realising these goals and we will be unrelenting in our pursuit. For the first time in the country�s history, we have today a separate ministry for skill development. Technological institutes, on their part, will have to do the education-industry interface,� he added.
Pointing out that India still had to import many electronic goods such as cell phones, the Prime Minister made a strong pitch for practical application of knowledge of technology.
�It is for youths like you to show the way and ultimately establish India as the global start-up capital,� he said, exhorting the students.
Lauding India�s achievements in the sphere of space technology, Modi said that the Mars Mission was accomplished at a cost less than Rs 7 a km. �It is the talent of our youth which made this possible. The need is to build further on these laurels. The Silicon Valley has the US as its address, but its face is that of India,� he added.
The Prime Minister also formally unveiled the foundation plaque of Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT). At present the IIIT is functioning from the campus of the Indian Textile Institute at Ambari. The permanent building of the IIIT under construction near the LGBI Airport will be completed by August 2017.
Modi also inaugurated the Electronics and ICT Academy in the IIT Guwahati campus.
Earlier, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani gave the welcome speech. She said that the dream of digital India was nearing materialisation, and with this, a new era of knowledge and empowerment was emerging.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, in his address, said that the last 15 years in the State saw a resurgent Assam, which was marching forward in different spheres. He said that higher and technical education had been accorded top priority by the State government - something corroborated by the setting up of a number of technical institutes in the past few years.
Gogoi had a word of praise for IIT Guwahati, saying that it was the sole academic institute from India to have been ranked among the top hundred world universities (under 50 years of age) by an assessment done by the London-based Times Higher Education (THE) in 2014.
The event was attended among others by Governor PB Acharya, Union DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent) for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam Education Minister Sarat Barkataki.
IIT Guwahati Director Prof Gautam Biswas offered the vote of thanks.