Mumbai: The country needs national leaders from
science and engineering and not just politics, sports and cinema,
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Saturday.
The prime minister was speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations
of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay.
He said that the IITs have become an integral constituent of
'Brand India' like nuclear science institutions or other centres
of research and teaching.
He said that IIT Bombay students have risen to top positions
internationally, including former head of Bell Laboratories Arun
Netravalli, present Dean of Harvard Business School Nitin Nohria
"One of our brightest cabinet ministers, Jairam Ramesh, is an
alumnus of IIT Bombay, and also Nandan Nilekani (who implemented
the Unique Identification Number scheme)," he said.
Manmohan Singh said he was pained by the high cut-off marks to
"Today, as we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of IIT Bombay, we feel
a sense of pride. But that pride must be tempered by the concern
that we still do not have the required number of such institutions
to offer adequate developmental opportunities to all our bright
young women and men," the prime minister said.
In order to tackle this, the government has taken the initiative
to expand opportunities for higher and technical education in
During the past eight years, there has been a quantum jump in
investment being made and the number of seats for students in
higher technical and scientific education. He lauded the minister
of human resource development and minister of communications and
information technology, Kapil Sibal, for his efforts.
Manmohan Singh said that government has opened new IITs, IIMs and
institutions for teaching and research in sciences, increased
investments in school educations, scholarships for disadvantaged
sections of society and set up new institutions for children.
"India currently lags behind many other countries in terms of
research and development and we must work harder to bridge this
knowledge gap. I am happy that IIT Bombay has made research a
priority," the prime minister said.
He added that IIT Bombay is involved in research in key areas like
the National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education, the 1
MW National Solar Thermal Test Facility and the Indo-US Clean
Energy Centre for Photovoltaics.
After half-a-century of zero rate of economic growth (1900-1950),
India managed a 3.5 percent growth for three decades after
Independence (1950-1980), he said.
"From 1980 to now, that growth rate has nearly doubled and during
2003-2008, it marched forward at a higher nine percent," he said.
"These are not just numbers. They translate into employment
opportunities... create new incomes and new possibilities. They
help increase the government's revenues so that we can invest more
in education, health care, in eradicating poverty, hunger, disease
and illiteracy," he said.