Minister calls for pedagogic platform to enable students develop skills, expertise and mindset to innovate differently
Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Sunday called for providing pedagogic platform for ‘frugal innovation’ so that students develop skills, expertise and mindset to innovate differently from those in industrialised nations, “who are accustomed to an era of profligate excesses”.
Delivering the first convocation address of Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences (BITS), Pilani’s Hyderabad campus, he pointed out that a growing number of universities abroad, including those in the USA, UK and elsewhere, were taking the frugal innovation message seriously and initiating programmes/centres for it. “Will BITS pioneer this field in India?” he asked.
He said such frugal innovation ideas were now spreading worldwide as it minimises costs by creating frugal solutions to deliver improved products, processes and even public services. Observing that frugal innovation was not new to India, he said, these innovative capabilities might not be that abundant in the formal sector, but abound in the informal sector and exemplified by a myriad of ‘jugaad’ alternatives, improvisations and make-dos to overcome and solve seemingly insoluble problems.
This has been captured by the mammoth repository of the non-formal innovations documented by the National Innovation Foundation.
Stating that the pioneering examples in the formal sector of such innovations were CDAC’s Super Computer, Param and low cost tablet, Aakash’, Mr. Sibal said its second version would be launched soon.
Referring to the unparalleled opportunities available, he told the students, “You are graduating at a time that is most opportune for fashioning a knowledge-driven India that is a proud member of the comity of nations. I would like all of you to see yourselves as agents of change for a New India”.
Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chancellor BITS, Pilani, urged the passing out students to make a difference to the universe ‘we live in’.
B.N. Jain, Vice-Chancellor, while presenting a report on BITS and its four campuses, said BITS was aspiring to be India’s top three research-focussed technical institutes by 2015 and be counted amongst the leading 25 technical universities in Asia by 2020. Besides a Rs.400-crore project to renovate and expand the Pilani campus, similar projects to expand capacity to cater to increased number of students in Goa and Hyderabad campuses were on the anvil.
Chandralekha Motati of B.E. Computer Science was awarded the gold medal, Varikuti Sainath of Mechanical Engineering (silver medal) and Sheetal Jagdish Saraogi of Computer Science (bronze medal). V. S. Rao, Director, Hyderabad Campus, presented a report.