President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday asked institutions like IITs and NITs with their various specialisations to find ways and means to tackle the burgeoning problem of environment pollution and create sensitivity and awareness among students and researchers.
Addressing the concluding session of a conference of Directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Shibpur, hosted by Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President said, ”This is that time of the year when the air quality of the national capital as well as of many other cities worsens beyond all norms.
“We are facing a kind of challenge here that we have never faced before. Hydrocarbon energy changed the face of the world in the last couple of centuries, but now it is threatening our very existence,” he added.
“The challenge is compounded for nations battling to bring substantial sections of populations out of poverty. Yet, we will have to find alternatives,” Kovind said.
The President said many scientists and futurologists have painted doomsday scenarios. “On days of smog and poor visibility in our cities, we fear the future might already be here.” He expressed confidence that institutions like IITs, NITs with their various specialisations, would take care to create a sensitivity and awareness among students and researchers towards a common future.
From the technology perspective, he expressed confidence that institutions like IITs, NITs can make the most crucial contribution to Ease of Living for all citizens. Improving urban infrastructure, making water supply systems efficient, making healthcare delivery more effective – there are countless ways technology can make a dramatic difference in the life of an average Indian.
“Science and technology become more humane when there are more women practitioners. I am happy to learn that your institutes have been striving to improve the gender ratio. I have been trying to increase the number of women Visitor nominees in your various committees. However, the number of women faculty in your institutes is still very low. I am sure this issue will get the attention it deserves from all of you.
“Along with more women faculty members, we also need more faculty with international experience. Although some progress has been made by your institutes, a lot more needs to be done. This is an area which needs to have more focussed efforts from everyone,” the President said.
“Last month I had the opportunity to launch the endowment fund of one of the institutes present here today. I hope to see the other institutes also similarly engage their alumni in their activities. Your alumni are important stakeholders in building your institute and they should be made to feel part of your growth story.
“You must also pay attention to the next generation of leaders in your institutes. It is essential that you groom competent administrators who will be able to continue to provide the vision and leadership that you are providing right now. This is not an easy task but necessary steps in this direction have been taken by the ministry with the Leadership for Academicians or LEAP programme. I am happy to note that the second edition of this programme was launched a couple of months ago by the Human Resources Minister,” he said.
Apart from the Directors of 23 IITs, 31 NITs and IIEST, Shibpur, the conference was attended by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Secretary (Higher Education), Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Chairman AICTE.
The conference was part of the regular interactions of the President with such institutions in his capacity as Visitor to 152 Central Universities and institutions of higher learning.
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