The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee attended the thirty-sixth annual convocation of Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad on 10th May 2014, Jharkhand.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that development should touch the lives of all people, especially those lagging behind in the socio-economic ladder. Every individual must count and be made capable of contributing towards their personal upliftment as well as society as a whole.
Many of our socio-economic problems call for innovative solutions at the grassroots level. There is marvelous ingenuity amongst people in India. He called upon Indian institutions of higher learning to nurture innovation for the benefit of the common man. He stated that research pursuits help redefine the frontiers of a discipline.
Our institutes of higher learning must take up issues relevant to their social and economic context for in-depth research. He added that ISM is located in a region rich in scarce mineral resources. This Institute should concentrate on developing technologies that increases the efficiency of resource extraction.
The President mentioned that an important survey, the India Skills Report, 2014 has revealed that only 52 per cent of engineering graduates and 34 per cent of our overall skill pool are employable. This situation must change. We must make a determined effort to enhance the quality of our graduates.
The President said that though none of the Indian institutions figure in the list of top 200 universities in the world, we have made a beginning to present the achievements of our institutions in proper perspective. He said that he was happy to find good results in the last one year or so. In the World University Ranking done subject-wise by the rating agency QS, two IITs - Madras and Bombay - are amongst the top 50 institutions in civil engineering, while IITs - Delhi and Bombay - are in the top 50 in electrical engineering.
In the Times Higher Education 2014 survey of top 100 universities IIT Guwahati has been ranked 87th. He stated that he was quite confident that with this small step we are moving in the right direction.
The President said that India does not have significant proven resources of a number of minerals that are very essential for modern industrial economies. India is deficient in gold and the platinum group of elements, nickel, rare-earth elements etc. Geological formations in India are similar to those of the African and Australian continents. Use of advanced exploration techniques could lead to discoveries in India comparable to that in these continents.
Training of manpower in exploration of deep seated deposits and their mining and extraction should be an important focus area for the ISM. This will be an essential pre-requisite for sustained industrial development of our country.
The President stated that the ISM should pay heed to introducing resource-conserving industrial processes as that would be a key step in the direction of sustainable development. The ISM has introduced the concept and practice of sustainability in its curriculum.
ISM's efforts to strengthen interaction and collaboration with different higher educational institutions, including foreign institutions is most welcome. He said he was happy to know that in recent years, it has played a pivotal role in teaching under-graduate students of Afghanistan and in providing continuing education to large number of government and industry professionals from countries in Asia and Africa. He also called upon ISM to fully harness the power of the National Knowledge Network.