New Delhi, March 04, 2021.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the Inaugural session of Webinar on ‘Harnessing Education, Research and Skill Development for an Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The webinar was organized jointly by the Ministries/ Departments of Education, Science & Technology, Biotechnology, Earth Sciences, Skill Development, Space, Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals & Petrochemicals, with the department of Higher Education as the nodal Ministry.  The objective was to brainstorm and discuss ways for effective implementation of Budget provisions regarding education sector, with experts and industry representatives.

Union Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri Sadananda Gowda, MoS Education, Communications, Electronics & IT Shri Sanjay Dhotre, MoS Ports, Shipping & Waterways (IC), Chemicals & Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandviya graced the occasion. Principal Scientific Adviser Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan, Former Chairman, ISRO and Chairman, drafting committee of NEP Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Chairman ISRO Dr. K Sivan, Chairman AICTE Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe and Secretaries to the Government of India including other dignitaries participated in the Webinar virtually.  Secretary, HE Shri Amit Khare and Secretary, DoSEL also attended the meeting.

In the Inaugural address, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi pointed out that to build a self-reliant India, confidence of the youth of the country is equally important. Confidence comes only when the youth has complete faith in their education and knowledge. Confidence comes only when they realize that their studies are giving them the opportunity to do their work and also the necessary skills. He said that the new National Education Policy has been made with this thinking. He stressed the need to implement all the provisions of the National Education Policy from pre-nursery to PhD quickly and said that the Budget will be of immense help in this regard.

The Prime Minister said the second biggest focus after health in this year’s budget is on education, skill, research and innovation. He called for a better synergy between Colleges and Universities of the country. He said the emphasis placed in this budget on skill development, upgradation and apprenticeship is unprecedented. This budget has further expanded the efforts made to link Education with Employability and Entrepreneurial Capabilities over the years. As a result of these efforts, he said, today India has come in the top three countries in terms of scientific publications, number of PhD scholars and start-up ecosystem. He said India has joined the top 50 ranks in Global Innovation Index and is continuously improving. He said new opportunities are growing for the students and young scientists with the constant focus on higher education, research and innovation.

The Prime Minister said for the first time, the focus is on issues ranging from Atal Tinkering Labs in schools to Atal Incubation Centers in higher institutions. A new tradition of Hackathons for start ups has been created in the country, which is becoming a huge force for both the youth and industry of the country. He further informed that through the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovation, more than 3500 start ups are being nurtured. Similarly, under the National Super Computing Mission, three supercomputers: Param Shivay, Param Shakti and Param Bramha have been established in IIT BHU, IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune. He informed that more than a dozen institutes in the country are proposed to get such supercomputers. Three Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institutes (SATHI) are serving from IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU, he said.

The Prime Minister said with the thinking that restricting knowledge and research is a great injustice to the country’s potential, many avenues in sectors like space, atomic energy, DRDO and agriculture are being opened for talented youth. He said for the first time, the country has met the international standards related to Metrology which leads to R&D and improving our Global Competency a lot. Geo-spatial data has been opened up recently and this would lead to immense opportunity for the space sector and the youth of the country. The entire ecosystem will benefit immensely. He said the National Research Foundation is being built for the first time in the country. 50 thousand crore rupees have been allocated for this. This will strengthen the governance structure of the research related institutions and will improve linkages between R&D, academia and industry. The Prime Minister said, more than 100 per cent increase in Biotechnology research is indicative of the Government’s priorities. He called for increasing the scope of Biotechnology research in the service of food security, nutrition and agriculture.

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