New Delhi, March 17, 2013
President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the first convocation of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kashipur, in Uttarakhand. on March 17, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee today said that, for India's political and economic stability, it was important to have truly inclusive growth that benefited each and every citizen, especially those who are at the margins of society and at the base of the socio-economic pyramid.
"The challenges being large and diverse, India needs grass-root leaders who place people and their problems at the centre of the social, economic and political discourse," he said in his address at the first convocation of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kashipur, in Uttarakhand, which was founded three years ago.
The first batch of 37 post-graduate programme students received their diplomas at the convocation.
Mr Mukherjee said it was only when people worked together and each Indian felt empowered to contribute to the task of nation-building that the country would be ableto combat poverty, malnutrition, hunger and disease.
"I call upon the faculty and students of IIM Kashipur to focus on the problems of the bottom of the pyramid and develop innovative solutions to address their concerns," he said.
Mr Mukherjee said India today stood at the cusp of greatness. "While there are many challenges ahead, there are also boundless opportunities," he said.
"We are passing through a phase of unprecedented demographic change which is likely to contribute to a substantially increased labour force. The bulk of this increase is likely to take place in the relatively younger age group of 20-35 years which would make India one of the youngest nations in the world. In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old as compared to an average age of 37 for China and the US, 45 for West Europe and 48 for Japan. It is clear that the youth of India, who are the leaders of tomorrow, shall aspire for higher standards of living, better service delivery and increased transparency and accountability," he said.
"On the eve of India’s 66th Independence Day on August 14th last year, I had observed that the glass of modern India is more than half-full. I had said that we are equal children before our mother; and India asks each one of us, in whatever role we play in the complex drama of nation building, to do our duty with integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty to the values enshrined in our Constitution. If each of us follows this principle, I am confident that India will become a more vibrant, dynamic and prosperous nation," he said.
Mr Mukherjee congratulated the management and faculty of the institute for nursing it in its nascent stage and IIM Lucknow for mentoring it.
"As the youngest of IIMs, IIM Kashipur should strive to build a unique image for itself, while maintaining the high quality that IIMs are known for," he said.
He expressed happiness that IIM Kashipur was considering the setting up of two Centres of Excellence, on Sustainable Development and on Competitiveness.
"Many have felt the need for a renewed focus by our management institutions towards courses on entrepreneurship. At a time when IIM Kashipur is consolidating its course structure, it should leverage this opportunity and design management programmes in a manner that will become a model for others to follow," he said.
He said the unique geography of the institute's location, in an industrial belt surrounded by a predominantly rural area, provided them with the opportunity to develop ‘extension education’ courses.
"Students should be encouraged as part of their academic curriculum to contribute to positive social development by helping people of the region learn better ways of running their farms, small businesses and other community ventures. This will instill in the students a sense of obligation to society, which they carry with them throughout their professional lives," he said.
He said there was need for a strategy to make the Indian industry compete successfully with the best in the world. Skilled manpower has to play a key role in this strategy. A healthy growth of Indian business will be greatly facilitated by the availability of a competent cadre of management professionals, he said.
"The pool of such professionals in our country is unfortunately not enough to meet the needs of our industry. The annual enrolment in commerce and management streams has increased from around 23 lakh in 2006-07 to around 34 lakh in 2011-12. The need for graduates and post-graduates from these streams will be much higher in the future and we must be ready to meet the demand," he said.
He also noted that no Indian university figured among the top 200 universities of the world and called for efforts to take Indian universities into the top league.
"Innovation is also an important driver for growth. Unfortunately, we also lag behind our major competitors in this aspect. The number of patent applications filed in India in 2011 was about 42,000, which is far below the 5 lakh plus applications in both China and the US. A culture of innovation must be encouraged in our country and for that, we must create more opportunities for collaborative research, set up industry incubation parks in educational institutions and provide more research fellowships,," he said.
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