Put talent of students first: President Pranab Mukherjee


The National Student Start-up Policy, aimed at creating 1,00,000 technology based start-ups and a million employment within the next 10 years, was launched here on Wednesday by President of India Pranab Mukherjee.

The policy launch was a part of the ongoing Visitor’s Conference in Rashtrapati Bhavan where the President spoke about a range of issues from students politics to making Indian institutions world class.

The National Student Start-up Policy plans on achieving the employment target of one million by developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions. It has been formulated by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

“The job creation figures of 1.35 lakh in 2015, which is the lowest in seven years, are not encouraging. With machines fast replacing men, we have to look at a paradigm shift. We have to prepare our youth, who are buzzing with innovative ideas, to turn into entrepreneurs. We also have to enable our students-turned innovators- turned entrepreneurs to be able to successfully harness the market,” the President said.

During the event, the President also spoke about Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s ‘Project Vishwajeet’, which is a project aimed at making IITs, a world class institution by improving the facilities. He said that the proposals made by the seven IITs – Kharagpur, Kanpur, Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Guwahati and Roorkee – should be expeditiously examined by the HRD Ministry for quick implementation. The proposed policy of MHRD to establish ten world class institutions each in public and private sector is also a welcome step.

“Our institutions must brim with meritorious students and top-notch faculty. To attract bright students with limited means, a support base comprising options like deferred and variable fees and income-contingent loans will be necessary. Access to higher education is also hampered by information asymmetry. Various funding and communication and counseling models have to be developed depending on specific needs,” he added.

The President said educational institutions must become magnets for talent– not only internal but also from outside. He called upon heads of educational institutions to develop brain rain and brain networks in place of brain drain. He said world-class institutions can be developed only with adequate financial resources. Government funding in public institutions are limited to budget provisions. To cater to the progress of our central institutions, their fund requirements must be supplemented by other sources such as endowments and contracts for research projects from industry.

He also informed that during his visits abroad, the academic delegations which accompanied him have signed 92 MOUs with their foreign counterpart institutions. The focus now has to be on implementation of these agreements.

Hinting at the recent Jawaharlal Nehru University missing student incident and sedition row, the President called upon the heads of the education institutions to deal with unpleasant situations with sagacity. “Our campuses must have a harmonious and peaceful environment for students to pursue higher studies and research. Vice-chancellors and Directors must deal with any unpleasant situation with sagacity. They must take help of all well-wishers including inspired teachers, who by the dint of their wisdom, conviction and conduct, can inspire confidence among students and have a calming influence,” he added.