Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said IIT Kharagpur is of immense help to start-up and research being the "epicentre of innovation" and said it should take the lead in innovations for the country's MSME sector.
Pradhan, who was speaking as the chief guest at the 67th Convocation of the premier institute which was held in a hybrid format, said there is also a need for exploring alternative energy at a time when the country is spending crores of rupees for importing crude oil. The union minister said the institute should take further its activities in the fields of semiconductor technology and healthcare carried out during the COVID situation and complimented it for them.
"We take to innovation when pushed to the wall. You (IIT Kharagpur) have already been the epicentre of innovation helping start-ups in areas which benefit people in COVID time. You have to take that forward, you have to align the innovation with the MSME sector," he said. He asked the premier institute to explore alternative energy by extracting methane as 90 per cent of the coal production of the country is from its nearby areas.
India is now the number three energy consumer in the world but will become the number one by 2030-35. "Once the primary requirements of the people were water, food, shelter and health. Now energy and the internet have been added to the list. Being in leadership, India has the most conducive atmosphere for exploring alternative energy. IITs can take up the challenge ... In 10 years the world will come to us as India will set the benchmark in using low cost energy in various sectors." Pradhan said.
In this context, Pradhan said that the cost of producing green energy in India is one-fourth of countries like Britain. So the country and its leading institutions can use the opportunity. Stating that the Centre is allocating thousands of crores of rupees in the electronics sector of MSME in the country, he said "You (IIT Kharagpur) have to take the lead." The union minister said the East has the greatest resource in terms of low cost manpower, natural resources and a long coast line. "Unless the East grows, India cannot grow".
Asserting that India can show the world new ideas, he said it has been the fastest growing economy during the pandemic. "From the dearth of PPE kits and sanitizers and masks at the outset of coronavirus in 2020, we not only attained self sufficiency but sent kits to other countries. This is the new India and our IITs are the new seats of learning behind this feat," he said.
The country has already vaccinated 100 crore people and "We will jab 100 per cent of the population." IIT Kharagpur Director Prof Virendra Kumar Tewary said that in terms of innovation the institute is working in the fields of energy, electric vehicles, biomass, besides in niche areas including artificial intelligence. Its faculty has achieved many firsts in the field of semiconductor and ISRO and DRDO are working with it.
The institute has made 75 innovations so far to help the industry and as part of its Interdisciplinary role the B C Roy MBBS College will start with 100 students in the campus by this month. Sixteen faculty members have joined the super speciality hospital named after Shyamaprasad Mukherjee which is expected to start soon, he added.
-With PTI Inputs