Calls upon industry to develop strategic partnerships with varsities

Reversing the deceleration in the economy and nursing “our growth path back to the eight per cent-plus levels, often clocked by us in the past,” is the immediate challenge, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday.

The President, who was inaugurating the 28th Indian Engineering Congress, at a three-day event being organised here by The Institution of Engineers (India), said with the global economy on the recovery path he was confident of the country securing a faster growth. Positive factors such as the continuing rise in per capital incomes, expanding middle class consumers and a young and energetic workforce would aid the process, he added.

Highlighting the role of engineering in the India’s economic transformation over the last few decades, Mr. Mukherjee said the next big task, to be taken up on priority, was to improve the competitiveness of entrepreneurs. This was needed for them to play a bigger role in the global industrial landscape.

What this meant was new operating models – flexible automation, multi-location production, deferred customisation and disposable factories – through innovative engineering.

Given the significance of the task, he called upon the Indian industry to develop strategic partnerships with universities and research institutions to take forward key innovation ideas.

Engineering and technology, according to Mr. Mukherjee, had to be driven by competent engineers and scientists.

The starting point for that was the quality of products emanating from our education system. Though the country had a formidable set up of engineering and technical institutions, many of them were low in terms of the standard of education imparted.

Hence, “In pursuit of expanding engineering education in the country, academic excellence must be given equal priority,” he said. Underscoring the need for the educational standards to be geared to international benchmarks, the President said every engineering and technical institution should take efforts to develop a large pool of proficient scientific and technical manpower.

On its part, the Institution of Engineers (India) should consider establishing an Institute of Excellence in engineering and technology to create synergy between industry and academia.

Noting that the development status of a nation was fashioned by its technological prowess and not by its stock of natural resources alone, Mr. Mukherjee called upon the community of scientists and engineers to provide technology foresight.

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