An enabling ecosystem for R&D is must for India to become a developed nation – Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi : The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu today stressed the need to create an enabling ecosystem for R&D for India to become a developed nation. For this, he urged educational institutions to have an increased interface with the industry to promote result-oriented research that addresses contemporary challenges such as climate change, pollution, health and poverty.

Inaugurating the Puducherry Technological University, in Puducherry today, the Vice President underlined that it is the cutting-edge research in science, technology and other fields that puts developed countries ahead of the rest. He asked the students to conduct socially relevant research and come up with out-of-box ideas to make the nation strong and bring prosperity and happiness in people’s lives.

It may be noted that Puducherry Technological University (PTU) is the first state university of the Union Territory of Puducherry which has been constituted by upgrading Pondicherry Engineering College established in 1986.

Praising the Atal Incubation Centre, set up at the institute, for successfully incubating 15 start-ups in diverse areas such as Electronic Design, Manufacturing and Drone Technologies, the Vice President said that India is scaling new heights in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation. He expressed happiness over India becoming the world’s third largest start-up ecosystem and said that with the opening of the space sector for private players, several promising start-ups have come up in this sector.

Noting that leadership teams of 45% start-ups have a woman entrepreneur, he hoped that this healthy trend will inspire more women to become entrepreneurs. Emphasizing the need to provide equal opportunities for women,  Naidu called for ending artificial barriers created in the name of caste, religion and gender. “You must prepare a generation to see that all kinds of social discriminations are put to an end,” he said to the university authorities.

Terming the huge youth population as the core strength of New India, he urged the educational institutions to infuse a spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and experimentation among the students so that they are able to drive the nation forward.

Mentioning several government measures to support start-ups such as broadening the definition, simplifying regulations and providing tax exemptions, he exhorted the industry to also come forward and support young entrepreneurs by handholding, providing funds and incubating their ventures. “Improved Industry-Academia Partnership has to be stepped up to give a further fillip in this direction”, he added.

The Vice President also praised the Indian start-ups for coming up with life-saving innovations amid the COVID-19 pandemic such as testing kits and cheap ventilators as well as innovations in supply chain management and logistics.

Observing that the education sector was one of the most affected by the pandemic,  Naidu opined that the worst seems to be over and we are looking at the post-COVID recovery. Stating that online education cannot be a substitute for classroom learning, he stressed the need for the students to return to schools and colleges at the earliest. Lauding the world’s largest free vaccination program underway across the country, the Vice President urged the people’s representatives to create awareness among the people on vaccine hesitancy and see that all people in their constituencies get vaccinated.

Complimenting Pondicherry Engineering College for raising the technical education standards, he said that the college has played a key role in the upliftment of the socio-economic status of the UT.

Congratulating the people of Puducherry on getting their first state university, Shri Naidu said it would offer many additional opportunities to excel such as collaboration with international universities and autonomy in starting new courses. He also termed the establishment of PTE as an important milestone in the history of technical education of Puducherry Union Territory.

Recalling the words of great revolutionary Yogi, philosopher and poet,  Aurobindo, the Vice President emphasised that education is not merely for building career or earning livelihood, rather its main purpose is to produce disciplined and able citizens committed for the service of the motherland. “Let these lines serve as a guiding light for all of you in your future endeavours,” he told the teachers and students of PTU.

Stressing that our youth must know about the life and works of great leaders like Sri Aurobindo, Subramania Bharati and Chidambaram Pillai, the Vice President called for including their life stories in our school curricula.

Referring to the extreme weather events like forest-fires, floods and heatwaves in the recent past across the world, the Vice President said that climate change is real and called upon everyone to respect and live in harmony with nature.

Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Chief Minister, Shri N. Rangasamy, Speaker, Puducherry Assembly, Shri Embalam R. Selvam, Deputy Speaker, Puducherry Assembly, Shri P. Rajavelu, Ministers, Government of Puducherry, Shri A. Namassivayam, Shri K. Lakshmi Narayanan, Shri A.K. Sai J. Saravanan, Member of Puducherry Legislative Assembly, Shri P.M.L. Kalyana Sundaram, Principal, Puducherry Technological University, Dr. K. Vivekanandan and others were present during the event