New Delhi: President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, hosted a conference at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 14 December of 46 Heads of Central Universities and Institutes of Higher Learning in the fields of agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aviation, design, footwear-design, fashion, petroleum and energy, maritime studies, planning and architecture and information technology.
During the Conference, different subgroups comprised of heads of various institutes made presentations on issues such as promotion of research; promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship among students; building industry-academia linkages; filling up of vacancies including faculty from foreign universities; creating alumni funding and enhancing alumni activities; completion of major infrastructure projects in a time-bound manner.
Speaking at the concluding session, President Kovind, said India has set itself on the path for sustainable development as it strives to eliminate poverty and become a middle-income country, adding that each of the institutes represented will be instrumental in the realisation of socio-economic goals.
Kovind stated that the Central Agricultural Universities can support the national goal of promoting sustainable agriculture, productivity and supporting farmers with useful research, adding that the same is true of all other institutes linked to different areas be it pharmaceutical, aviation, oceanography, petroleum and energy, IT, design, architecture and others, and each is doing well but the bar needs to be raised further.
Kovind said as the economy grows, the scale and efficiency that is greater and better than the best in the world needs to be acquired, adding that these institutes have the mandate to lead research, to provide skilled talent, to spur innovation and to set an agenda for sustainable and climate-friendly development.
The President also said that while developing their specialisations, these institutes should collaborate and learn from each other, explaining that this is possible for institutes in the same field and it is also possible across categories.
Kovind gave an example of how advances in IT can aid architects and town planners to design Smart Cities that minimise the use of energy. He emphasised that all of them should set up systems that can scout for and support cross-category collaborations which might hold creative promises to solve many problems.
The President said that great institutes of learning are different due to the leadership they nurture and build, stressing that the heads of leading higher education institutes must discharge their key role as leadership mentors for the next generation of academic-administrators.
This would ensure a ready talent pool of directors, deans and administrators who can conceive, establish and administer institutes of higher education, he concluded.
Union Ministers for Chemicals and Fertilizers (DV Sadananda Gowda); Human Resource Development (Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’); Commerce and Industry (Piyush Goyal); Petroleum and Natural Gas (Dharmendra Pradhan) and Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare also addressed the Conference.
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