Governor’s address at the Diamond Jubilee Foundation Day function of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and the Diamond Jubilee Foundation Day function of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay at 3 PM on Saturday, 10th March 2018
Dr Anil Kakodkar, Ex- Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Bombay, Shri Dilip Shanghvi, Chairman, Board of Governors, Prof. Devang Khakhar, Director, IIT, Bombay, all former Directors, Deputy Directors, Prof. P V Balaji, Dean (Research & Development), Prof. Suhas Joshi, Dean (Alumni & Corporate Relations), Prof. Jayesh Bellare, Convenor of Diamond Jubilee Committee, Deans, Heads of Departments, distinguished alumni, awardees, staff, dear students, ladies and gentlemen,
Let me tell you, how very happy and proud I am, feeling today. It is an honour to visit IIT Bombay and to meet all of you, the distinguished alumni, faculty and students.
I extend my heartiest congratulations and felicitations to each one of you on the joyous occasion of the Foundation Day of IIT Bombay. I rejoice with you as IIT Bombay embarks on its year-long Diamond Jubilee celebrations from today.
It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge the presence of two former Chairmen of the Board of Governors, Dr Kapur and Dr Anil Kakodkar, alongwith the current Chairman Mr Dilip Shanghvi. Their contribution to the cause of science and technology, research, industrial development and, most of all, to the development of the nation, has been of the highest order. We are truly fortunate to have them in our midst today. Likewise, two former Directors of IIT, Bombay who have made seminal contribution in the growth of the Institution over the past decades are among us today. I would like to applaud and compliment Prof. A K De, Director from 1974 to 1984 and Prof. S P Sukhatme, Director between 1995 and 2000 for their dedicated services to the institution.
These last few days, diamonds and particularly, Diamond makers, Diamaintaires, were in the news for wrong reasons. Those diamonds are merely shining stones, forever.
But, IIT Bombay is the real diamond in the crown of India. Maharashtra and particularly the city of Mumbai, is proud to possess this most precious jewel in the country.
Every alumni and every student of the Institute is a precious asset for the nation.
I have come here to tell you that I am proud of you, Maharashtra is proud of you, and the Nation is proud of you.
I congratulate the recipients of the ‘Prof. S C Bhattacharya Award for Excellence in Pure Sciences’ and the ‘Prof H H Mathur Award for Excellence in Applied Sciences’ for their exceptional work.
I also congratulate the Distinguished Alumnus Awardees and the Young Alumnus Achiever Awardees who are being honoured today.
Since its establishment sixty years ago, IIT Bombay has built a formidable reputation as a leader in the field of engineering education and research. More than 52000 engineers and scientists have graduated from the Institute during these decades. Each of these alumni, has made immense contributions to various walks of life – education, research, industry and so on – both within India and the world at large.
From the perspective of the Government, IIT-B and the alumni of the Institute have played a critical role in evolving and implementing various development programmes of government.
IIT Bombay has thus played a pivotal role in the socio-economic transformation of India, and the nation is justly proud of it.
We all know that IIT Bombay’s teaching programmes have won tremendous acclaim over the years. During the last few years, IIT Bombay has been equally recognized for the admirable achievements in the domains of research and development, contributing to the realm of knowledge creation. It is viewed as a Centre of Excellence in the country, rated on par with some of the best institutions in the world.
In the 2018 edition of the QS World University Rankings for BRICS countries, IIT- Bombay was ranked 9th, which makes it first in the country. This is indeed a heart-warming development.
Taking a walk around the campus, one is amazed to see the sheer variety of areas of science and technology as well as design and the humanities and social sciences, available here.
The biggest strength of this institute is its world-class faculty. Research and academic programmes at IIT Bombay are driven by the faculty, many of whom are reputed for their research contributions internationally.
We live in an era of inter-disciplinary research. IIT Bombay has always nurtured inter-disciplinary areas of teaching and research. This is the surest way forward today when solutions to the most complex of our problems are found through the blending of various disciplines.
As Governor, I am aware of the multifarious contributions by IIT Bombay faculty and students to the technological development of Maharashtra and that of Mumbai.
The Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas at IIT Bombay has been involved in a large number of diverse projects in the realm of agriculture and food technology, animal husbandry, health and sanitation and water distribution and network design.
As Chancellor of 20 Universities in Maharashtra including 4 agricultural universities and one University of Animal Sciences and Fisheries, I wish to see IIT-Bombay working closely with our agriculture – and veterinary universities.
By virtue of Schedule V of the Constitution of India, the Governor of Maharashtra is also the guardian of scheduled tribes living in the Scheduled Areas of the State – areas having majority tribal population. I want to compliment the Team Nutrition from IIT Bombay for initiating projects on addressing acute malnutrition in Anganwadis and Ashramshalas in the State.
One of the most notable initiatives on the training front is the project ‘Quality Improvement in Math Education’ between IIT Bombay and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, Maharashtra. I was pleased to note that as part of this programme, 250 teachers have been trained as ‘Master Trainers’ who, in turn, have trained 12,500 Math teachers across all districts of Maharashtra. We must see how this project is sustained, so that it will have a cascading effect on the quality of teaching Mathematics across the State.
Ladies and gentlemen,
India is poised to break into the league of fastest developing countries and one of the fastest developing economies powered by the quest of science, technology and innovation.
India’s Science and technological institutions are making their mark at the global level. India’s success in the realm of Information Technology, Communications, Space Science, Nuclear Science and many other areas has caught the attention of the world.
The success of Mangalyaan brought a sense of pride to the entire nation. A couple of years ago, IIT Bombay had launched the student satellite ‘Pratham’. The College of Engineering, Pune with whom IIT Bombay has mentorship arrangement also developed its Satellite project ‘Swayam’. These are really heart-warming developments.
Having said that, India’s transition to a developed country is possible only when we will have several world class educational and research institutions whose research and innovation will grab the attention of the world.
There are at least 50 universities and institutions in the world that have produced ten or more Nobel Laureates. Universities like Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, Chicago and MIT have among themselves, won more than 400 Nobel Prizes !
I do feel that in this Diamond Jubilee year, IIT Bombay must prepare a roadmap for itself, to break into the league of top institutions worldwide. A Nobel Prize for India is long over-due, and if any institution can deliver it for India, it is IIT – Bombay.
Ladies and gentlemen,
When the IIT – Bombay was set up, India was facing a set of altogether different set of challenges. Our national priorities were different. Agriculture sector followed by the Manufacturing sector were the biggest contributors to the nation’s economy. We were grappling with the teething troubles as a fledgling nation liberated from the long and exploitative spell of foreign domination.
The entire dynamics has changed today. The Services Sector has surpassed the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. India’s priorities have changed. We need new age academicians, researchers and enterpreneurs with ideas of the 21st Century India.
We need to take stock and plan for the future. We must implement frameworks that encourage the production of high-impact research.
The Rig Veda says: आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः which means, let noble thoughts come to us from all sides.
Like MIT and Stanford, we must attract the best talent from all over the world. Like the ‘Make in India’, we must implement ‘Teach in India’ programme to associate best faculty with our own institution.
It is necessary that Research Funding and Student Funding are enhanced substantially. Let IIT be the nucleus to create and facilitate a vibrant start up ecosystem. Let IIT – Bombay produce the best teachers for our science and technology institutions in the country and outside.
The success of ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Start-Up India’ depends on your individual and collective contributions towards these programmes.
I have a wish that IIT Bombay should think of starting two more Campuses: One Campus exclusively for women having its own distinct programmes, and another Campus, exclusively for Rural Maharashtra, perhaps based in Vidarbha or Marathwada, which will cater to the needs of the rural poor.
There are concepts like Science Festival in many advanced countries. You have your own festival like Techfest and Mood Indigo. I want IIT Bombay to organize a well-publicised National Science Festival annually to showcase its work, past work and innovations. It will connect the common man with Science and Technology.
Before I conclude I wish to make an appeal to students and researchers. Quite often we talk of Corporate Social Responsibility. In fact, IIT- Bombay is doing commendable CSR work itself. The Government has now mandated Corporates to spend 2 per cent of their profits on social activities. But let us now think of ISR – or Individual Social Responsibility.
If every single student and every alumnus of IIT decides to do something for his or her own place of birth, I am sure, we can set off multiple revolutions in different parts of India.
As IIT Bombay embarks on its Diamond Jubilee celebrations, I wish the Institute all glory and success. I wish each one of you an enriching, rewarding and satisfying career.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!