ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SHRI RAM NATH KOVIND AT THE 5TH ANNUAL CONVOCATION OF IIM JAMMU
It is a pleasure to be with you all, as this convocation is a landmark event in the lives of the bright young students who have earned their degrees and medals today. I congratulate the students for their achievements. I also congratulate the parents and teachers who have toiled hard to witness this day which is so important in the lives of these young students.
I attach great importance to this event, as it is directly related to the future of our talented youth and thereby, to the future of India. Only yesterday, I interacted with many Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities and Directors of ‘Institutions of National Importance’ in the presence of the Union Minister of Education and experts of higher education who are responsible for implementing the National Education Policy 2020 and other related measures. The occasion was the Visitor’s Conference held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Education is the greatest enabler. The future of our country depends on good education of our young population. Therefore, I try not to miss any opportunity that is related to promotion of education. I remember having participated, in virtual mode, at the ‘Conference on Implementation of the National Education Policy in Jammu and Kashmir’ in September, 2020. When the Lt. Governor, Shri Manoj Sinha Ji requested me to participate in that conference, I had happily agreed. Many of you may be aware of the fact that the Lt. Governor came into the field of public service with an illustrious academic career as an engineering student from IIT, BHU. On a lighter note, the Lt. Governor is also described as a dhoti-wearing IITian by his friendly associates. I appreciate his efforts for improvement of education in Jammu and Kashmir. Coming from this region, Dr. Jitendra Singh has been closely involved with the overall development of Jammu and Kashmir, along with his responsibilities in the Central Government. The presence of Dr. Milind Kamble here, who is also the Founder Chairman of Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry or DICCI, is a good example of convergence between academia and industry. I appreciate the team of IIM Jammu, led by its Director, for taking the institute forward in line with the educational objectives of the nation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we know, the National Education Policy seeks to position India as a ‘Knowledge Hub’ in today’s knowledge economy. It seeks to make our youth equipped for the world of 21st century while preserving our ancient values which remain relevant even today. For India to become a global knowledge hub, our institutes of learning have to be globally comparable. With this perspective, a presentation was made on global ranking of higher education institutions at the Visitor’s Conference I mentioned about. I am happy to note that the number of Indian institutions in the global ranking is gradually increasing. I expect new institutions like IIM Jammu to quickly adopt global best practices and aspire for higher ranking.
We are in an era of enterprise, innovation, and value-creation. I have been informed that innovation councils have been set up in higher education institutions in almost all the states and union territories. India’s ranking in Global Innovation Index has improved from 76 in the year 2014 to 46 in 2021. Innovation and entrepreneurship strengthen each other.
Aided by convergence of technologies and opportunities, many start-ups have become very successful and are being described as the emerging mainstay of the Indian economy. Unicorns, which are start-up enterprises with market valuation of one billion dollars and above, are proving to be game changers. These unicorns, most of which are set up by young people, must be a source of inspiration for you all. The mindset of being a job-giver and not a job-seeker among the youth of India is one of the key factors in our country having one of the best start-up eco-systems in the world. I feel very happy to note that IIM Jammu, in collaboration with DICCI and CII, is going to set up a special diversity cell for helping potential entrepreneurs from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. I am told that this is going to be the first centre of its kind among the IIMs. I appreciate everyone concerned with this initiative to promote entrepreneurship and inclusion.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The establishment of IIM, Jammu in 2016 marks the beginning of a new chapter of higher education in this area. I am sure that this institute will soon emerge as a major education destination for students from different parts of the country, and even from other countries. I am glad to note that students from 25 States and Union Territories are receiving education from the faculty drawn from all over the country. This makes IIM Jammu reflect a young mini-India. I am told that adjunct faculty from countries like the UK, France, Brazil and the US are associated with IIM Jammu. I am also happy to note that the Institute has tied up with 15 prestigious institutions in the US, France, Australia, Korea and the UK for student and faculty exchange programs. I have been told that the new campus of the institute is targetted to be fully functional by November this year. I extend my best wishes for the team here to achieve the target. I am also happy to know about the steps taken to develop Srinagar Off-Campus of IIM Jammu. That will further increase the higher education outreach in this part of the country.
I am glad to note that the educational eco-system of this area is getting stronger by cooperation among the Jammu based IIM, IIT and AIIMS.I am happy that these three institutes are integrating and offering courses in which students from one institute can get access to the other.IIM Jammu has been offering dual degree program with IIT Jammu. It is also starting MBA programs in inter-disciplinary areas with IIT Jammu and AIIMS Jammu. This integration of courses and institutes is in line with the objectives of the National Education Policy-2020. I am told that other higher education institutions have been asked to emulate this initiative taken by these institutes. I appreciate IIM Jammu and the other two national institutes here, for taking lead in this important area of synergy.
As we know that the United Nations has been publishing a World Happiness Report along with theranking of countries on happiness related parameters. In a world, full of stress, happiness is as much about the spirit of the person as it is about external conditions. Therefore, right training of people in the art of happiness is as important as their training in skills and professions. In this context, the initiative of setting up a Centre for Happiness, named ‘Anandam’, by IIM Jammu is a welcome step.
Ladies and gentlemen,
India has the largest pool of young talent in the world. Institutes like IIM Jammu are nurturing our youth. These talented young people are going to build the India of the future. They are going to make the lives of the people, better, and the country, stronger.
During my interaction with Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors and representatives of Universities, I have always emphasized that institutes of higher education should take moral responsibility of developing some villages or towns in the proximity of the campus on the lines of corporate social responsibility. I urge your institute and other institutes in your proximity to adopt towns and villages of the neighbourhood and channelize the potential of the people there for bigger goals, be it in the field of entrepreneurship or research or skill development.
My dear young friends,
As you move out of this institute as young professionals, you are going to witness many new dimensions of life. Try to make the positive aspects of what you see as an integral part of your approach to work and life.
Education and knowledge remove ignorance and set the mind and soul free. This has been beautifully described in your institute’s logo which mentions the words;"sa vidya ya vimuktaye”. It means, only that learning is real learning which liberates the learner. This liberation is from ignorance, negativity and inertia.
As you step into the world of professional excellence and move from one place to another, I urge you to always remain connected with your roots. Never fail to give back to the society which has given you the opportunity to become a successful individual.
A very important point for all of you is to remain quick learners and re-learners throughout your life. The role of fast paced technological changes is going to be disruptive. The shelf life of technologies is getting shorter. Therefore, the shelf life of management and leadership styles is also going to be shorter. To deal with such a scenario, you have to move from the mindset of ‘utilising the known’ to the approach of ‘exploring the unknown’. You have to move beyond your comfort zones to the areas of uncertainty. You have to convert challenges into opportunities. You have to be ‘pro-changers’ and yet be sensitise to ‘no-changers’ for converting them as supporters of change. You have to look at tomorrow while learning from yesterday. You have to create your future based on the relevant learning from the past.
You have to develop and retain a holistic approach to life and work. For that you may have to blend what appear to be opposites. For example, you have to blend compassion with firm decision making. You have to blend competition and team building. You have to keep a sharp eye on the mega-trends and micro-trends. You have to think global and act local. This is the real essence of the mission of making Aatmnirbhar Bharat. I suggest that you keep an open mind, an open heart and a strong will. Most importantly, I wish that you do well by doing good. I strongly believe that a really good entrepreneur, good manager or a good business leader is one who believes in doing well by doing good. Excellence and ethics go together.
My dear young friends,
Ionce again congratulate the recipients of medals and degrees today. I am delighted to see that all the three medal winners in today's convocation are our daughters. As we know that in the latest results of the Civil Services Examination released recently, our daughters have captured the top three ranks. These happy developments related to the excellence of our daughters indicate that India is moving not only towards greater women empowerment but also towards women-led empowerment.
I hope that each one of you would strive to make our nation proud and make positive contribution in the development of the society and the nation.