Use Science & Technology to bring in a positive change in the lives of people: Vice President tells Techies

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has asked the youngsters and students to use science and technology and their intellect to bring in a positive change in the lives of people.

Addressing the 1st Convocation of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Sri City (IIIT Sri City), in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh today, Shri Naidu called upon the youth to make impactful contributions to the society by providing solutions to pressing problems of the nation such as poverty, illiteracy, climate change, hidden hunger, urban-rural divide, and others.

Asking students to set new benchmarks and try to achieve them with sincerity, discipline and hard work, the Vice President advised them not to remain complacent and to put in optimal efforts to reach their goals.

Opining that Universities and Institutes of Excellence such as IIT, ISB, IIM and IIITs must instill leadership qualities in students, he suggested revamping the teaching methodologies to develop a quest for learning in students. He called upon institutions such as the IIIT Sri City to strive to become centers of excellence with global standards by offering a holistic and quality higher education to students.

The Vice President while expressing concern over poor global ranking of Indian Higher Educational Institutions, stressed the need to completely revamp the higher education system. He asked universities to play a leading role by incorporating relevant changes in curriculum, teaching methodologies and research strategies to make India a hub for global learning.

Observing that economic prosperity must ensure equitable development, Shri Naidu called for a special focus on bridging the urban-rural divide in education, health, and other areas. He also stressed upon the need to ensure inclusive development to create a harmonious society where different sections of the society could get access to the wealth created.

The Vice President said that academic institutions with all technical and human resources must encourage their students to work with local societies and offer technology-based solutions to the problems faced by them. He also wanted the academic institutions to maintain regular coordination with industry and the government to prepare the students for jobs of the future.

Pointing that Indian economy was expected to register a growth rate of 7.3 percent this fiscal and 7.5 percent in 2020, Shri Naidu wanted the universities, institutions of higher learning to play a key role in India’s growth story. He tasked them to maximize the potential of India’s demographic dividend by imparting employable skills and also provide training to youth.

The Chairman of Board of Governors of IIIT, Sri City, Shri Srinivasa Raju, the Director of IIIT Sri City, Prof. G. Kannabiran, the Managing Director of IIIT, Sri City, Shri Ravi Sanna Reddy, the Members of the Board of Governors, faculty members, staff, students and their parents and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“I am extremely happy to be part of the maiden convocation of IIIT Sri City. I congratulate and offer my best wishes to the first batch of graduating students of this institute for achieving an important milestone in your lives. It indeed is a proud moment for all the students and their parents as well. My best wishes to you all!

It gives me immense pleasure to come back to IIIT Sri City for this convocation as I had attended the Foundation Stone laying ceremony in 2015. As Minister for Urban Development, I had inaugurated the Centre for Smart Cities at the institute.

IIIT Sri City is uniquely located in a large and modern industrial city consisting of leading MNCs and domestic industries. There probably is no other institute with this kind of advantage. Other IIITs in PPP mode have few Industry Partners to support those institutes. This industry partner, Sri City, is enabling access to more than 100 companies that operate from here.

I am happy to note that IIIT Sri City has made significant achievements in the first few years. The role of Industry Partners, Sri City Foundation and Sri City Private Ltd deserve special appreciation. Shri Srinivasa Raju, Chairman and Shri Ravi Sanna Reddy, Managing Director, have been instrumental in ensuring this phenomenal growth.

I am confident that this institute will achieve greater heights and evolve as a centre of excellence in IT education and research.

Dear students,

You are the proud first batch graduating from this institution.  I am sure that as the first batch you must have set a good example for others to follow. In other words, you will be trailblazers to whom successive batches will be looking up to. Irrespective of whether you pursue higher studies or take up a job, strive to excel in your chosen field. Make your alma mater and parents feel proud of you. As you progress in your career, never remain complacent but set new benchmarks and try to achieve them with sincerity, discipline and hard work. Commit yourselves to put in optimal efforts and I am sure you will come out with flying colours. I once again wish you all the very best!

I would like to share few thoughts to the graduating students, faculty and others who have gathered on this august occasion.

As you all are aware, India was once known as Vishwaguru and was a leading economy in the world. India was home to the best learning centres and scholars from across the globe used to come here to study at Nalanda, Takshashila and Pushpagiri.

Dear students, we must strive to regain our leadership position in the world as we enter into a new era of opportunities and challenges. India is the fastest growing large economy in the world. Our economy is expected to register a growth rate of 7.3 per cent this fiscal and 7.5 per cent in 2020, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF). Similar, projections were made by other global agencies. It is predicted that India will be in top three economies of the world in the next two decades. India is set to become a $ 10 trillion economy in the next 10-15 years.

With India emerging as an economic leader, abundant opportunities will arise for young graduates like you. You will be witnessing and participating in India’s transformation. India also has a unique advantage of a young population. About 65 per cent of our population is below the age of 35 years. No other country is blessed with such a huge human resource capital as India. We must maximise the potential of this human resource by imparting skills and training and accelerate the growth of our economy.  For achieving all this, our universities, institutions of higher education and various centres of learning must play a transformational role.

Today we have more than 900 universities across the length and breadth of the country. But none figures in the top 200 universities in the world. Merely adding more and more universities is not enough. Numbers are important, but quality is more important. We need to completely revamp our higher education system to make it one of the best in the world. Our universities must play a leading role in this endeavour and make India again a hub for global learning. To start with, our universities must aim to be among the top 100 institutions in the world.

Our institutions must strive to achieve extraordinary results in a short span of time. They need to adopt a systematic approach for goal setting by comprehensively reorienting the teaching methods, research strategies and setting high academic standards on par with global institutions.

I am happy to know that IIIT Sri City has inducted qualified faculty and initiated strategic planning process. I am sure that all the stakeholders will contribute to achieve the desired goals with the support of Industry Partners.

No institution can insulate itself from the unpredictability of technological progression and disruption. The future of the work will not be dependent on degrees but on skills. The jobs of tomorrow will be vastly different from the present-day jobs and therefore the universities and the industry must join hands to prepare the students for jobs of the future.

The success of institutions is not about what we do in the next few years, but it is our ability to create future-ready professionals.

Information Technology has become all pervasive. Advances in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Big Data, Computer vision, Internet of Things shall create new opportunities to create economic value. I am sure institutions like IIIT Sri City will focus on these aspects in their programmes of study and research.

Again, I am happy to note that IIIT Sri City has initiated efforts to launch specialized programmes of study in the area of Cyber Security, Data Analytics, AI & Machine Learning, Block Chain, FinTech and Smart Manufacturing with a focus to offer specialized human resources to the industry.

I am of the firm view that economic prosperity should ensure equitable development. Close to 65 percent of people in India still live in villages and top priority has to be accorded to bridging the urban-rural divide in education, health and other areas.  We need to ensure that our development is inclusive, where different sections of the society have access to the wealth created, so that we are able to create a harmonious society. Due to size and complexity, governments alone can no longer deliver social development programmes.  Academic institutions with all technical and human resources have to integrate such programmes with funding from governments and industry. Students will have an opportunity to work with local societies to offer technology-based solutions to the problems faced by them. I am happy to note that IIIT Sri City has adopted five villages under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan to support development activities.

The much cited demographic dividend of India is both an opportunity and challenge. It is an opportunity because of the number of people in the working class is more as compared to many nations. It is directly linked to faster economic growth and prosperity. On the other hand, this may become a burden to the nation if we are not able to provide right education and skills to make our youth employable. Given the present status of relatively low levels of employability among graduates, we need to focus on appropriate programmes of study and provide opportunities to acquire skills that match the requirements of emerging jobs.

We need to continue to strive for enabling an inclusive mind-set among our youth. I am sure our academic institutions will make focused efforts to provide an inclusive learning environment in which collective achievements are celebrated.

As you progress in your life, you will be fulfilling various commitments towards your family, friends and organizations that you work for. Today, you have yet another important commitment of serving the nation.

India has many opportunities but many problems also need to be managed. You need to make impactful contributions to the society by leveraging the opportunity or solving the problems of the nation. I urge you not to get overwhelmed by the challenges you face. Start in a small way, align yourself with any of the national programmes and create or join a network of individuals who share a common passion to bring changes in lives of the people.  Remember, Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the nation.

Dear students, always remember the core philosophy of India from time immemorial has been to share and care. While you acquire wealth and celebrate success, you must always pay attention to the needs of others, particularly the deprived sections. Being helpful to others who are in need has to be our way of life.  Feel privileged that you are like a candle that brings light into the lives of others.

I once again wish you all the very best in career and life. I am sure IIIT Sri City will strive to become a world class institution in the coming years with the support of Industry partners.