Address Governor at the presentation of the Zee 24 Taas Young Innovator Awards
Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu at the presentation of the Zee 24 Taas Young Innovator Awards at the Convocation Hall of the University of Mumbai at Fort, Mumbai at 5.45 pm on Thursday 16 March 2017
Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Chandrakant Dada Patil, Hon’ble Minister for Revenue and Public Works, Shri Subhash Desai, Hon’ble Minister of Industries, Shri Vinod Tawde, Hon’ble Minister of Education, Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, Vice Chancellor of University of Mumbai, Dr G D Yadav, Vice Chancellor, Institute of Chemical Technology, Dr Uday Nirgudkar, Editor-in-Chief, Zee Chowis Taas, other distinguished invitees, young innovators and their mentors, ladies and gentlemen,
I am indeed happy to associate myself with this programme organized by popular Marathi news channel, Zee Chowis Taas, to acknowledge and applaud the Young Innovators. I congratulate Zee Chowis Taas for organizing this wonderful function.
Some of the finest young innovators have been chosen by the Selection Jury for their ‘out-of-the-box’ innovations and I would like to congratulate the Chairman and Members of the Selection Jury for their outstanding work.
The Young Innovators being honoured today are truly agents of change that we wish to see in society.
Every story of Young Innovators narrated here today is inspiring. Every innovation has the power to bring hope in the lives of millions of people.
A small innovation like introduction of the Electronic Voting Machine is helping India, the largest democratic country in the world, in its election process. In the past, we used to wait for hours and days to get the election results. Today, we get election results within an hour of counting of votes. It is said that ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’. This is a classic example of need based innovation.
I was particularly impressed to note that some of the innovations of today’s Young Innovators are going to help people and children who are blind or suffer from low vision. Some innovations are going to benefit those suffering from disabilities; yet others hold the promise of benefitting farmers. The possibilities from innovation are limitless. This is what India needs.
I want to tell all of today’s Young Innovators: “Maharashtra is proud of you and India is proud of you !”
People of the present generation will find it hard to believe that it was the wealth and wisdom of eighteenth century India which attracted the commercial traders of England, France, Portugal and Holland to India.
According to historian Sutherland, this wealth was created by Indians vast and varied industries, powered by innovation.
Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world had long, long been produced in India.
India was a far greater industrial and manufacturing nation than any in Europe or than any other in Asia.
India’s textile goods – cotton, wool, linen and silk – and so many other products were famous all over the civilized world.
India had great engineering works also. The country had great merchants, great businessmen, great bankers and financiers.
Not only was India the greatest ship building nation, but she had great commerce and trade by land and sea which extended to all known civilized countries.
Such was the India which the British found when they came. That was the culture of enterprise and innovation, existing in India.
An enquiry into the remote past shows our achievements and innovations in various fields.
Mathematician Aryabhatta was the first person to create a symbol for zero and it was through his efforts that mathematical operations like addition and subtraction started using the digit, zero. It means, we gave the concept of zero to the world.
Albert Einstein had famously said, “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
Bhaskaracharya, who lived at Patnadevi near Jalgaon in his treatise Surya Siddhanta, calculated the time taken for the earth to orbit the sun to nine decimal places (365.258756484 days).
Sushruta Samhita is considered to be one of the most comprehensive textbooks on ancient surgery. Charaka authored the Charaka Samhita, on the ancient science of Ayurveda. That was our leadership in scientific pursuits and innovation. I am recalling this proud past for the benefit of the youngsters who are present amidst us.
Somehow, we lost our leadership in many areas during the long spell of foreign domination. The education system introduced by Lord Macaulay caused great damage to our indigenous education system which promoted the spirit of enquiry and innovation.
We stand at a critical juncture where we have an excellent opportunity to recapture our past glory and make India one the greatest nations in the world.
With a population of 1.25 billion people, India has emerged as the youngest nation in the world. By 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, which is 8 years younger than the average age of a Chinese or an American. These young men and women, full of bright and brilliant ideas hold immense potential to change the destiny of the world and improve the quality of life of our people.
A lot needs to be done to make innovation a matter of habit for students in schools and in colleges. For this to happen we will have to create an ecosystem that would encourage innovation.
Today’s education system has largely become an examination-oriented system. There is little scope for original thinking and innovative ideas. After C V Raman, India has not produced a single Noble Prize winner in science. We need to take a fresh look at our education system and promote enterprise and innovation from the grassroots level.
As Governor, I often attend Convocation ceremonies of various universities. In all these Convocations, I find that in 8 out 10 cases, the top Gold Medal recipients are girl students. However, when it comes to the job market, women are distinctly missing. There are very few women teachers, women professionals, women engineers, women researchers, women scientists and women innovators.
We need to change this picture and encourage more women to pursue their career.
A survey conducted by an American think tank covering 22000 publicly-traded companies in over 91 countries, showed that companies employing 30 percent and more female executives earn more profits. So it makes sound economic sense to employ more women as Professors, as Board Members and in all other professions.
I was deeply saddened to read the recent news of the killing of 19 female fetuses in a village in Sangli. It makes us hang our head in shame. On the other hand, there was a positive story in today’s newspaper – there is a village in Latur district, where all the houses are in women’s name. The marriage expenses of daughters from the village are born by the entire village. We need collective efforts for the empowerment of women.
Before I conclude, I will call upon all Universities and Colleges in Maharashtra to create Innovation Hubs where innovation by students could be displayed and acknowledged. Thought must be given to organizing a State level exhibition of innovations.
I wish today’s Young Innovators all success in their future endeavours and hope that they will continue striving for reducing hardship, improving efficiency, and enhancing the quality of life of the people. Once again I compliment Zee Media for organizing this wonderful function.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !