Eight PhD, six M.Phil and 29 M.Sc degrees were awarded by the Honourable Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, at the 16th convocation ceremony of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (Deemed to be University), Mumbai today.
Addressing the graduating students, parents and faculty members, the Vice President stated that knowledge is going to be the driver of the Indian economy and that it will play a vital role in improving the living conditions of the people. He said that India must therefore rise to the occasion and reorient its higher education system, in order to be globally competitive.
“The education system should be reoriented by moving away from the colonial mindset; it must teach history in an objective manner as it actually unfolded. Education is not only for employment. It should empower the individual with knowledge and wisdom to sift the wheat from the chaff. Access to quality education for all and at all levels is equally essential to ensure inclusive growth and prevent any kind of discrimination. I would like to emphasize that the time has come for India to once again emerge as the global knowledge hub. For that to happen, the seats of learning, especially the universities, must reinvent themselves as hubs of vibrant intellectual pursuit, with academic excellence and social relevance as the key touchstones of success.” – said the Vice President.
The Vice President added that our development challenge can only be met by focusing on expansion of the knowledge base. We must focus on improving the quality of research and fostering innovation; that will be a much-required game-changer, stated Shri Naidu.
He added that for India to be a USD ten trillion-dollar economy in 2030, its real rate of growth must be at least 7% per annum. The Vice President said: “If we can achieve this, we will shift firmly from the World Bank’s lower income group to the upper-middle income group. India has to grow out of its many bottlenecks including inadequate public services, congestion and pollution, issues in health and education, bottlenecks in land, labour and financial markets. An arduous path lies in front of us. For us to move to this growth path, we need to focus on research, innovation, sincere implementation and constant monitoring by following reform path.”
Underscoring the direct relevance of Goal 8 and Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to labour and employment, the Vice President called for a heightened focus on skill upgradation and promotion of innovative entrepreneurship to meet the demands of various sectors, including agriculture. “The skill-profile of workers demanded by industry and services sector could undergo dramatic change in the future. Our system of education and skill-training needs to respond to these changing demands. The pace of skill development would be important in tapping into the demographic dividend. We must also promote self-employment, set up and empower more self-help groups and promote village and cottage industries.”
The Vice President noted that developing countries are confronted with the need to find newer markets within their boundaries and in other countries in the global south. Building primary education, health care, and waste management facilities across the country; development of new small towns and renovation of existing towns and connecting them with local labour-intensive manufacturing and services industries, and decongestion of existing metropolitan cities would be of utmost importance in this regard, said Shri Naidu. “We must end the urban-rural divide. We have to aspire to achieve Former President Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s dream of Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areas (PURA). The social inclusion programme he envisioned aims at providing amenities like drinking water, street lights, education, healthcare and telecom services to the country’s rural areas, bringing them at par with urban areas in terms of ease of living and working.”
The Vice President recalled that while it accounts for less than a fifth of GDP, agriculture still remains the main source of employment for nearly half of India’s labour force.
“An important feature of Indian agriculture is the presence of very large number of farmers (about 90 million farm households), and the very low average farm size – majority of farms are less than 1 hectare. These millions of farmers typically sell their produce to wholesale markets. Consequently, farmers do not benefit from high prices at the retail end. This market structure is an important reason for the low labour productivity in the sector. To improve labour productivity in agriculture, we need greater on-farm value addition / agro-processing and innovative institutional arrangements in the sector which will improve the bargaining strength of famers in the market.”
The Vice President asserted that we must not hesitate to introduce a number of structural changes in our agricultural sector to make it profitable. While some recent initiatives have helped improve agricultural profitability, there is a need to focus on enhancing the extent of crop diversification and crop insurance coverage.
Reminding the students that the nation looks up to them with great expectations, the Vice President said that they must shun negativism, develop a positive attitude, be socially conscious, peace loving and empathetic, and learn to preserve the best of traditional values. He exhorted them to always remember and care for their parents, do something for their native place and protect our nature and mother tongue.
The Vice President welcomed the higher proportion of women in graduating students of IGIDR, adding that we have to take up massive programmes for girl child education.
On the occasion, Ms. Madhuparna Ganguly was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for the best performing student in the M.Sc. (Economics) Programme during the year 2016-18.
Director, IGIDR, Prof. S. Mahendra Dev; Dean, Academic Affairs, IGIDR, Prof. Jayati S. Sarkar; Professor and Member, Board of Management, IGIDR, Prof. C. Veeramani; and
Registrar, IGIDR, Mr. Jai Mohan Pandit were present on the occasion, along with faculty of the institute and family members of the graduating students.