Vice President calls upon the youth to come up with innovative ideas to address the problems faced by the country

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the gathering after inaugurating a two-day National Conference on ‘Making of Gandhian Nationalist: Life & Times of Sardar Patel’, in New Delhi on October 31, 2017.

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called upon the youth to come up with innovative ideas to address the problems faced by the country.

Addressing the students and faculty of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design & Manufacturing (IIITDM), Jabalpur today the Vice President said that youngsters should come up with ideas on how to best use technology for easing people’s lives and bring transparency in governance.

He further said that our aim should be to build an inclusive society in which every person feels integrated in nation’s development.

Exuding confidence that India was well on way to become the five trillion-dollar economy, Shri Naidu called upon the youth to develop positive outlook towards life.

“It is very important to succeed in life as it gives you new energy and dynamism”, he said.

The Vice President said that technology is changing by day and there is increased digitization in every field.

However, he expressed concern over the low levels of digital literacy, specially in rural India. He called for sustained efforts to increase digital literacy and suggested special focus at the school/college level.

Shri Naidu also called for creating more digital content in Indian languages.

“If the benefit of digital technology and e-governance have to reach the last man, it has to be in Indian languages”, he said and exhorted the students and academia to work for creating more digital content in Indian language, terming  it as their ‘Digital Social Responsibility’ towards the society and nation.

The Vice President also said we should gradually move towards education and research in mother tongue.

Shri Naidu also called for making cyber security an inalienable part of all our digital literacy programs. This would help in faster adoption of technologies, he said.

Discussing various challenges and opportunities on the economic front, the Vice President expressed concerns that India despite being world’s fifth largest manufacturer, share of manufacturing in our GDP has remained around 16 percent.

“Our aim is to increase this share to 25 percent of GDP”, the Vice President said while listing various government initiatives to promote manufacturing such as Make in India, Start-up India, MUDRA and Stand-up India, easy availability of credit to MSMEs and setting up of industrial corridors.

Shri Naidu said that MSMEs face more challenges as compared to bigger corporations in adoption of new technologies and exhorted theinstitutions such as IIITDMto address thisby creating professionals who specialize in ‘Smart Manufacturing’.

Asking universities to prepares the youth for 21st century industry needs, he said that with right skills, Indian youth can not only increase the pace of economic growth in India but also would be available to other countries in the world.

“With 65 percent of population below the age of 35 years, India has the right demographic capital to emerge as skill capital of the world”, he said.

However, the Vice President cautioned that mere degrees and diplomas will not make a person employable and emphasized the need for skilling to take full advantage of the opportunities in the globalised and liberalized economic environment.

“Skilling and schooling should go together”, he said.

Expressing disappointment over the fact that none of the Indian universities figures in the top 100 global institutions, he called for concerted efforts to improve the teaching methods and the learning outcomes.

Exuding confidence that India was well on path to becomethe five trillion-dollar economy, VP said that incentivizing the research and innovation would be key to achieve this target.

Praising thegovernment’s move to set up more than 5400 Atal Tinkering Labs in schools across the country, he called uponall educational institutionsto promote the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among the students.

Shri Naidu also stressed the need to take the students out of the classrooms and provide them exposure to real life working environment in the industry.

“There should be more industry-academia linkage to enable this”, he said.

Stressing the need to raise the expenditure on Research and Development, VP appealed to the private sector to spend reasonable share on research and development and join hands with the Universities. He even called for the creation of a separate corpus by the corporate sector to promote cutting edge research in higher education institutions and universities.

Commenting on the behavior of the people’s representatives in the Parliament and state legislatures, Shri Naidu asked them to raise the level of debates in the House and set the example for others.

“Discuss, debate and decide in true spirit of democracy”, he advised the Parliamentarians.

Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, Finance Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri TarunBhanot, Member of Parliament, Shri Rakesh Singh and Director if IIITDM, Shri Sanjeev Jain were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.

Following is the full text of speech –

“Sisters and brothers,

I am very happy to be amidst all of you here today.

Just before, I saw the Students Project Demonstration and I am impressed by the good work being done by the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design & Manufacturing.

The areas of education you are dealing with – IT, Design and Manufacturing are very contemporary and crucial for the economic development of our nation.

India is the fifth largest manufacturer in the world and we know manufacturing is a key economic activity that defines a nation’s economic progress. But it is also a matter of concern that share of manufacturing in Indian economy has remained at around 16 percent of GDP. Our aim is to increase this share to 25 percent of GDP.

The government has taken several initiatives to promote manufacturing. Among these are the Make in India, Start-up India initiative to promote entrepreneurship and nurture innovation, and MUDRA and Stand-up India to facilitate access to credit. It has also undertaken massive recapitalisation of public sector banks to ease availability of credit to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Besides, it has undertaken major infrastructure projects, such as the setting up of industrial corridors, to boost manufacturing.

We are living in a fast changing world. Technology is changing by day, and Fourth Industrial Revolution is knocking at the door. This is posing new challenges and opportunities to our manufacturing industry.

At present, the commerce is characterized by increasing digitization and interconnection of products, value chains and business models. It will significantly impact sectors like automobile, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and financial services and will result in operational efficiency. Experts feel that emerging markets like India could benefit tremendously from this wave of change.

For that, we have to rapidly adopt and assimilate new technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine-to-machine communications and robotics. It would be pertinent to note that SMEs are facing a bigger challenge than the organized large-scale manufacturing in adoption of these technologies.

In this context, the role of institutions such as IIITDM becomes of very crucial. You have an important responsibility to create professionals specialized in ‘Smart Manufacturing’ to address the shortage of high-tech human resources in the country.

India’s demographic profile will also enable this process. With 65 percent of our population below the age of 35 years, India has a large work force that can not only increase the pace of economic growth in India but also would be available to other countries in the world. But this will be possible only when our youth are equipped with necessary skills and knowledge.

Our students who are well equipped with computer, communication and quantitative skills are very much in demand in many parts of the world. Therefore, our universities and technical institutions have a special responsibility to educate the Indian youth to meet the industry needs in 21st century.

Mere degrees and diplomas will not make a person employable. Skilling is as important as giving information and knowledge. Studies reveal that our graduates are lagging behind in this respect and industry does not find many of them employable. Therefore, the degrees and diplomas need to be supplemented by appropriate skills to take full advantage of the innumerable opportunities in the globalised and liberalized economic environment.

There should be concerted efforts to improve the teaching methods in our Universities to improve the learning outcomes. It is a sad state of affairs that none of our universities figure in top 100 universities of the world. This should change. I call upon all stakeholders to work towards improving the standards of teaching in our educational institutions.

In ancient times, India was the education capital of the world. With legendary universities like Nalanda, Takshashila and Vikramshila, India was the seat of wisdom, the cradle of civilization, the ‘Viswaguru’ or the teacher to the world.

India has the potential to become the world’s leading economy again. We are on path to become the five trillion dollar economy.

Incentivizing the research and innovation would be key to achieve this target. The Government has launched Atal Innovation Mission under over five thousand Atal Tinkering Labs are being set up in the country covering over 625 districts.

I am of the firm opinion that every educational institution should promote the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among the students. I am happy to know that IIITDM has one of the ten Startup Centres awarded to academic institutes in the country under Startup India program.

To encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship, we need to take our students out of the classrooms and provide them exposure to real life working environment in the industry. There should be more industry-academia linkage to enable this. I am happy that IIITDM is in active partnership with several Japanese universities and companies to provide better exposure to its students.

Universities should not only be the knowledge hubs but also need to emerge as the hotspots of research, incubation and innovation. There is a great need to build a strong research ecosystem by collaborative, inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary research initiatives.

Expenditure on Research and Development is a key indicator of private and public sectors effort to foster competitive advantage in Science and Technology. But in India, public expenditure on Research and Development is very low.

The percentage of public expenditure in GDP hovers around 0.8 per cent. It is well below the developed countries like USA, Israel, Japan and Korea and also a developing country like China.

I appeal to the private sector to spend reasonable share on research and development and join hands with the Universities. In fact, I have been advocating the corporate sector to create a separate corpus to promote cutting edge research in higher education institutions and universities.

It is only because of our highly skilled professionals that India has emerged as a leader in the field of Information Technology. IT and IT enabled services have potential to transform India’s society and economy.

Given the relevance of digital connectivity to economic growth and the need to eliminate the digital divide, the Government launched Digital India program. Areas such as construction of broadband highways, public internet access, e-governance and development of basic information technology skills, etc., have achieved considerable progress under this programme.

With the increasing role of digital technology in our daily lives and its role in transforming India into a knowledge economy, the focus has been given to improving digital connectivity. Bharatnet project was launched with an aim to connect each and every Gram Panchayat with high speed broadband.

Under this program, over four lakh kilometers of Optical Fiber Cables have been laid in cose to 1.5 lakh Gram Panchayats. OFC has been connected and equipments have been installed in 1.35 lakh Gram Panchayats. This last mile digital connectivity will be crucial in delivery of e-governance and online services.

However low levels of digital literacy is a challenge to this. Digital literacy needs special focus at the school/college levels. Digital Saksharta Abhiyan is a noble initiative in this regard. The multiplier effects of this mission will be realized when these students in turn educate their family members. Higher digital literacy will also increase the adoption of computer hardware across the country.

Awareness about cyber security should also form an inalienable part of all our digital literacy programs. With every field of life getting digitally connected, the threat of cyber attacks and disruption is real. All stakeholders need to pay maximum attention to this aspect of digital world. Data security, reliability of data and stability in communication systems would be important in faster technology adoption.

Another challenge in digital world is the availability of content in Indian languages. Currently, most digital content is in English. However, a KPMG report suggested that “9 out of every 10 new internet users in India are likely to be Indian language users”. Therefore, I call upon the governments, private sectors, professionals and the academic institutions like IIITDM to work towards bridging this language digital divide. If the benefit of digital technology and e-governance have to reach the last man, it has to be in Indian languages.

I hope the students and faculty of IIITDM will work for increasing digital literacy and creation of online content in Indian language. You can call it as your ‘Digital Social Responsibility’ towards the society and nation.

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