MUMBAI: Innovation is the “buzz-word” of the 21st century and any society which does not innovate will stagnate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Saturday.
He said innovations, along with enterprise, shall be the foundation for making India a developed economy and pave the way for a long-term sustainable, technology-led economic growth of the country.
Modi was addressing the 56th annual convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) during its ongoing Diamond Jubilee celebrations here.
The Prime Minister pointed out that India is now looked upon as a nursery of unicorn start-ups (worth more than a billion dollars), for which one of the biggest source of talent in this revolution are the IITs in the country.
“That India is emerging as the hub for start-ups shows the thirst for innovations… India is now the world’s second largest start-up ecosystem, with 10,000 start-ups being nurtured along with funding.
“We are steadily climbing up on the innovations rankings in the world. We must build further on this to make India as the most attractive destination for innovations and enterprise,” Modi said.
Stressing on new technologies to build a new India, he said IIT-B is one of the institutions working in this direction and the shape of the future world would be decided by technological innovations.
Terming IITs as “India’s Instruments of Transformation”, he said their role becomes significant in the context of new technologies, like artificial intelligence, block chain, machine learning, and others, which would ensure “smart manufacturing” and shape the world of the future.
“It will not happen only through government efforts but by the youngsters here… The best ideas come in their minds and not in government buildings or fancy offices but in campuses,” said Modi.
He appealed to the young IIT graduates to innovate in India.
“Innovate for humanity — mitigating climate change to ensure better agricultural productivity, water conservation, clean energy, combat malnutrition, effective waste management and other areas. Let the best ideas come from Indian labs and minds.”
The Prime Minister paid rich tributes to the role of IITs in India’s development and progress, inspiring many top-class engineering colleges in the country, laying the foundation for the IT sector which was built “click-by-click”, and contribution to other developed nations, including the US.
He exhorted the IIT-B to become Mumbai’s centre of excellence by outreach programmes to engage with city schools and colleges and help inspire the spirit of innovation and enterprise among the next generation of students.
Earlier, the IIT-B conferred an honorary Doctor of Science on former alumnus, Romesh T Wadhvani, the founder-chairman of Symphony Technology Group in California, US.
Modi gave away gold medals to three top distinguished students of IIT-B and silver medals to 43 others in various categories.
Later, Modi inaugurated the new building of the Department of Energy Science and Engineering and the Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering, at the IIT-B, that was selected as one of the Institutions of Eminence by the government.
Modi and other dignitaries went around an exhibition of unique technological innovations developed by the IIT-B students.