IITs have been the Pride of the Nation: Prez Murmu

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been the pride of the nation, said the President of India, Droupadi Murmu. She was speaking at the closing ceremony of Diamond Jubilee celebrations of IIT Delhi today (September 3, 2022) in New Delhi.

The President said that the IITs proved to the world the capability of India in the domains of education and technology. In more than one way, the story of the IITs is the story of Independent India. The IITs have contributed immensely to India’s improved standing on the global stage today. Faculty and alumni of IITs have shown the world our brainpower. Some of those who studied in IIT Delhi and in other IITs are now at the forefront of the digital revolution sweeping the world. Moreover, the impact of IITs has gone beyond science and technology. IITians are leaders in every walk of life – in education, industry, entrepreneurship, civil society, activism, journalism, literature and politics.

The President noted that as one of the original IITs, IIT Delhi is a mentor to some of the recent members of the club – IIT Ropar and IIT Jammu. Thus, the IIT Delhi has contributed significantly in building up of the image of the IITs as centres of excellence across the world, she said.

The President was happy to note that the IIT Delhi has always seen itself as part of the larger community and it has been extra sensitive to its responsibility towards society. She said that the latest example of its social concern was seen during the initial phase of the pandemic. Rising to the challenge of containing the virus, the IIT Delhi initiated important research and development projects. It designed and developed rapid antigen test kits, PPEs, antimicrobial fabrics, high efficiency face masks and low-cost ventilators, among other things. The IIT Delhi’s contribution in India’s fight against the Coronavirus has been a model of how engineering and technology institutions too can play a role in a public health crisis.

The President said that by 2047, when we will celebrate the centenary of Independence, the world around us will have changed drastically, thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Just as we were in no position 25 years ago to imagine the contemporary world, we cannot visualise today how Artificial Intelligence and automation are going to transform life. With our high population numbers, we need to have a foresight and strategies in place to deal with the forces of the future where disruptions will be a new normal. The nature of employment will get completely changed.

The President said that if we take steps to protect ourselves from vagaries of the future, we can reap rich demographic dividends. We need to make our institutes adaptable to the future. This will require a new teaching-learning matrix, pedagogy and content which are future-oriented. She expressed confidence that with our famed IITs, we will be able to nurture the younger generation with necessary knowledge base and right skills to face the challenge.

Pointing to the fact that climate change poses a serious challenge, the President said that as a developing country with a high population base, our energy requirement for economic growth is very high. Hence we need to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. She said that in the years to come, as the world anxiously looks for technological solutions to environmental challenges, she trusts India’s young engineers and scientists will help humankind achieve a breakthrough.

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