Warning against the dangers of climate change and natural disasters like the one in Uttarakhand recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday asked the IITs to develop disaster resilient infrastructure that can withstand their effects.
Addressing the 66th convocation of IIT (Kharagpur), the oldest of Indian Institutes of Technology, he gave the students the mantra of “Self-3” “self-awareness, self- confidence and selflessness” in order to become startups for bringing about a change in the lives of people.
He also spoke of the need for making available safe, affordable and environment-friendly energy to people through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance.
“Climate change is a major challenge as natural disasters destroy infrastructure. India drew the attention of the world to the issue of disaster management.
“You can see what happened recently in Uttarakhand.
We should focus on developing disaster resilient infrastructure that can withstand natural disasters,” he said.
The prime minister referred to the global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), which he announced at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019.
The CDRI envisages partnerships of national governments, UN agencies and programs, multilateral development banks, financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks to ensure sustainable development.
He hailed the role played by the IITs in developing technology to battle COVID-19 and said the hallowed institutes should now work fast on finding futuristic solutions to other health care problems.
“You represent the aspirations of 130 crore people of India,” he said, while addressing the convocation virtually.
Noting that the needs and aspirations of the 21st-century India have changed, Modi said IITs also need to transform from being just Indian Institutes of Technology to Institutes of Indigenous Technologies.
“You have to become startups to bring about a change in the lives of people. You have to work on Self 3– self- awareness, self-confidence and selflessness. You should recognise your potential and move forward, move ahead with full confidence, move ahead with selflessness,” he told the students.
Underscoring the need for clean and affordable energy, the prime minister said India presented to the world the concept of International Solar Alliance.
He said the cost per unit of solar power was very little in India. However, it was still a great challenge to reach it to people’s homes.
“Can you do something about reaching solar cookers to homes using ‘chulha’ (earthen ovens),” he asked.
He said before the coronavirus struck people used to keep only medicines at their homes.
“Things have changed. They now keep machines that measure blood pressure, machines that measure blood oxygen. A huge market has emerged for personal health care equipment,” he said while speaking about research and innovation in the field.
He said IIT students can make use of PM Research Fellow Scheme and the Startup India Mission for idea incubation.
The prime minister spoke about the government liberalising regulations on geospatial data to allow private companies to conduct survey and mapping without prior government approvals and sharing the data for various everyday applications, from logistics and transport to road safety and e-commerce.
He said the decision will provide a huge impetus to Digital India and was a step forward in the direction of realizing the vision ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat‘.