‘Technologies related to MSME, rural development need to be prioritised’

To become a knowledge economy, India needs a mix of high-quality basic research backed by quality engineering, applied research, and a strong manufacturing infrastructure, R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, said on Saturday.

Dr. Chidambaram was addressing students of the National Institute of Technology – Tiruchi (NIT-T) during the ninth convocation.

“There is an urgent need to enhance academia-industry interaction,” he said. Unlike in developed countries where the industry awaited new knowledge developed in the academic system and provided research and development support, there was lack of such equilibrium in India, except in nuclear, space, and some areas of defence research.

Things were, however, changing rapidly through interaction between industry and research and development advisory groups such as the Centre for Automotive Research, Core Advisory Group (CAG) for Research and Development in the Machine Tools Sector, and the CAG for Research and Development in the Electronics Hardware Sector established by the PSA office which he heads, Dr. Chidambaram said.

Critical technologies for India arrived on the basis of a technology foresight analysis, including strategic technologies – nuclear, space and defence-related; technologies related to energy security, food and nutritional security, health and water, and environmental security; and advanced materials, advanced electronics and network connectivity, and cyber security. Technologies related to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and rural development-related technologies need to be prioritised, Dr. Chidambaram said. A rapidly growing India would expose students entering into professional careers to challenging opportunities, he said.

In his address, the Chairman of Board of Governors, NIT-T, Rajaram Nithyananda, said he expected students to assume leadership positions in the fast-changing technological scenario. In the reconfigured institutional ecosystem supported by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, there was a two-way interaction with the industry and R & D sector, courses oriented towards their priorities, and collaboration with national and international institutions.

Presenting his convocation report, NIT-T Director S. Sundarrajan said the academic curriculum had been modified to suit industry requirements based on Kakodkar Committee recommendations. There was a significant rise in research output of NIT-T.

Prof. Sundarrajan conferred degrees on 1,547 graduands and 260 students received academic excellence award. S. Subramanian of Civil Engineering department was honoured with the Institute Medal 2013 for securing overall highest CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 9.96.