Sunday, November 26, 2006
Nov 27, 2006
FRAT demand on IIT
Sunday November 26 2006 08:49 IST
T’PURAM: The Federation of Residents’ Associations Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) on Saturday demanded that the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) should be set up in Thiruvananthapuram district. The demand comes in the wake of the government’s announcement that a satellite centre of the Chennai IIT would be set up in Palakkad.
FRAT leaders T K Bhaskara Panicker and Adv Paraniyam Devakumar pointed out that Thiruvananthapuram was decided as the ideal location during the tenure of the A K Antony Government and land had been pinpointed at Vithura.
The presence of a number of research organisations and an international airport makes Thiruvananthapuram the ideal location for the IIT, FRAT leaders said.
The State Government should thwart the attempts of an anti-Capital City lobby to hijack the IIT to another place, the FRAT leaders said.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar
Agami Orissa, a leading organisation with an objective of highlighting educational problems in the State, held a seminar at the Utkal University on Friday under the presidentship of linguist Prof Debi Prasanna Patnaik. They unanimously resolved to support State's demand for a full-fledged IIT.
Hundreds of students and academicians, who attended the seminar, were of the opinion that even after 59 years of Independence, the State has been immensely suffering from poor education and health facility. The State is deprived of getting national institutions like IIT, IIM and Central Universities.
They pointed out that the Anandakrishna Committee, specially constituted to recommend for newer IIT campuses in the country, has selected five places where Orissa does not figure. The committee has recommended establishment of IITs in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, even though these States already have IITs, IIMs and Central Universities. Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are also privileged to have new IITs, although they have Central Universities. However, the proposal to upgrade Orissa's Burla Engineering College to an IIT was turned down.
"In light of the Centre's gross negligence of Orissa in respect of providing Central institutions and patronising higher education, Agami Orissa is planning a mass revolution in future. It has proposed an all-party consensus in the State Assembly for setting up of an IIT in the State. It also demands that Burla Engineering College be declared a Deemed University and converted to Indian Institute of Science and Technology (IIST)," said Santosh Tripathy, the convenor of the organisation.
Friday, November 24, 2006
- Besu, 150, celebrates
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
The state is in constant touch with the Centre over the proposed upgrade of the Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu)’s status to that of an Institute of National Importance (INI), chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Friday.
“I have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard,” Bhattacharjee said at a function to mark Besu’s 150 years of existence.
“Our higher education minister (Sudarshan Roy Choudhury), too, is trying to convince the human resources development ministry to accord the INI status to Besu, which is among the best engineering institutions in the country,” the chief minister added.
Roy Choudhury, also present at the programme, said the state government has completed all formalities for the INI status. “We are waiting for the formal announcement from the Centre.”
Bhattacharjee said he has requested the Prime Minister to be present at the function to be organised by the university on December 24.
Bhattacharjee has also pleaded with Singh to sanction around Rs 40 crore to the Shibpur campus to enable it to implement its projects.
Both the chief minister and the education minister, however, were silent on the proposal of bestowing the IIT status on Besu. (An INI tag for Besu would not automatically lift it to the level of IIT, though all IITs are INIs.)
The duo did not mention the admission procedure and the model of governance the institution would follow if it were declared an IIT.
The human resources development ministry in September had sought a “clear stand” from the state government on these issues.
The chief minister welcomed the string of projects the university has undertaken for its all-round development. He appreciated the plan to set up an automobile engineering centre. “Bengal is progressing fast in the automobile sector. We will need a large number of automobile engineers shortly,” he added.
NIT upgrade Bill ready for House: Indian Express
The legislation is expected to help the 17 NITs become ‘centres of excellence’
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 23
HAVING got a green signal from the parliamentary panel on education, the Centre is readying the final draft of a proposedlegislationwhichwill empower the National Institutes of Technology — formerly known as Regional engineering colleges — to the level of IITs.
The National Institutes of Technology Bill 2006, referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry early this year, will be introduced in the Winter Sessionforpassage,HRDsources toldTheIndianExpresstoday. The report of the Standing Committee was tabled in the Parliament today.
The proposed legislation is expected to help NITs — there are 17 in all — to become “centres of excellence”, especiallyintermsofpost-graduate technical education and research. The Bill will also provide academic, administrative and financial autonomy to these institutes, similar to the seven IITs in the country.
The parliamentary panel, headedbyCongress’Janardan Dwivedi,hadproposedthatall NITs be brought under the Institutes of Technology Act (whichgovernsallIITs)butthe HRDministryhadrepliedthat there were differences between the two categories of technical institutes — while IITs had a specialised highlevel entrance exam, NITs have a region or state-specific focus. The panel, in its report, concluded:“Itbelievesthatthe NITs will develop and grow faster separately than with the IITs.” The panel, in its report, hasalsosuggestedabiggerrole for the state governments in the functioning of the NITs.
HRD officials said the Bill was being given final touches and the ministry would carry out the amendments before it reintroduced the bill in the Winter Session.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Party to take up the issue in forthcoming session of Parliament
HYDERABAD: Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded that the Central Government set up one of the three proposed Indian Institutes of Technology in Telangana region of the State.
Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, CPI (M) Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury said the IIT should be set up in one of the backward regions of the State, preferably Adilabad district of Telangana region. Though the State Assembly had passed a resolution seeking setting up of IIT here even if it was on a cost-sharing basis, no step had been initiated thus far in this direction.
The party had, therefore, decided to take up the matter in the forthcoming session of Parliament, he said.
Friday, November 17, 2006
New Delhi, November 17, 2006
Higher education has put the HRD ministry in a paradoxical situation.
Its plan to give a major fillip to technical education by increasing the annual intake by about 30,000 seats may get dwindled, courtesy its social upliftment programme - 27 per cent OBC reservation.
The Planning Commission, which has agreed to allocate over 18,000 crores for expansion of higher education institutions to introduce 27 per cent OBC reservation, may not have sufficient funds for other higher education stream, technical education.
Other areas (in higher education) might suffer, as government is committed for implementing the affirmative action and universalisation of secondary education, a commission official said.
As per the commission estimates, it can spare only about Rs 10,500 crore in the 11th plan for technical education, including funds for expansion and improvement of the existing institutions.
"That’s why we are emphasising on more involvement of private sector in higher education," a commission official explained. Estimates for higher education is six times the money allocated in the 10 plan, whereas for technical education the increase has just been doubled.
HRD minister Arjun Singh has proposed to set up three new IITs, 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), five Indian Institutes of Management, three Indian Institutes of Science Educational and Research and four Schools of Planning and Architecture. Apart from them, seven engineering institutes have been proposed for upgradation to the level of IITs.
HRD ministry officials said the new institutes will be different from the present ones as emphasis will be more on building ‘scientific’ know how and research.
The new institutes will come up in areas where the higher education facilities are not very good. “We will look at new town and cities for establishing the centres of excellence,” an official said.
The proposals readied by the ministry are being sent to the Planning Commission for consideration for inclusion in the final Approach Paper for the 11th plan. “We expect an indication on the status of proposals by December end,” the official said.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
URMI A GOSWAMI
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2006 01:40:26 AM]
NEW DELHI: IIT aspirants will soon have more options. The government proposes to set up three new IITs over the next five years. At a time when there is a global talent crunch for quality engineers, the government’s move is a boon to students as well as employers.
The three new IITs will admit 3,000 students annually, which will augment by 75% the existing capacity of 3,980 for the country’s seven IITs together. These IITs will come at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore per annum for nearly six years.
The ministry of human resource development has written to the Planning Commission for an in-principle approval. The institutes will be set up over the Eleventh plan period — ’07-’12. Each of the new institutes would require sustained funding of Rs 650 crore annually for the first six years. Recurring costs, which would include salaries, would be at Rs 231 crore per year, while non-recurring expenditure, that is capital investment, would be at Rs 419 crore annually.
Of the student intake of 3,000, nearly 2,000 will be for the undergraduate B-Tech programme, while another 500 students will be at the post graduate level and another 500 at the doctoral and post-doctoral level.
The proposed IITs will have a structure that would be somewhat different from that of the existing ones — moving away from the department-based organisation to a school-based one. Each school — be it engineering sciences, natural sciences or design and creative arts — will have their own research and development activities. It would seem the aim is not merely to increase the number and quality of science and engineering manpower, but also to improve research activities at the IITs.
The proposal comes at a time when the paucity of science and engineering manpower has become an issue of serious concern. India has only 3.5 science and engineering personnel for every 1,000 persons, as against 110 for Japan, 45.9 in South Korea, 76 in Israel. CNR Rao, chairman, Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has on occasion expressed the need to set up new IITs to increase the numbers of PhDs produced in the country. India produces about 4,000 PhDs every year, China generates 16,000 and Brazil 10,000.
For the academic session beginning June ’06, as many as 3 lakh students competed for the 3,980 seats in seven IITs. Of the 3,980 seats up for grabs in the seven IITs, 2,896 seats are in the general category, 584 for Scheduled Caste applicants, 293 for Scheduled Tribe applicants and 117 seats for persons with physical disabilities.
Thanks Yogesh for pointing me to this item. Chitta
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
NEW DELHI -- In order to train professionals for the entire hydrocarbon value chain, including upstream and downstream and to meet the manpower requirement in petroleum sector in future, the central government has decided to establish a IIT-like petro institute exclusively in Uttar Pradesh’s Peeparpur area.
The area which falls under Sultanpur district, would see an investment of Rs. 860 crore in the next 10 year. The Proposed institute would be named as Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology (RPIT).
According to Petroleum Minsitry, out of the total Rs. 860 crore earmarked for the project, Rs 150 crore will come from Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB), basically for capital expenditure. Companies like ONGC, IOC, BPCL, HPCL and Gail will jointly contribute Rs. 250 crore for the institute. However, Rs. 45 crore under the head will come as fees and other earnings of the institute. The balance of Rs. 416 crore for capital expenditure will be met through budgetary support.
The government in a later stage is also planning to rope in private oil companies such as Reliance, Essar and Cairn Energy.
According to sources, the government would soon introduce a Bill in Parliament to give institute the status of national importance. The institute would be one of the new schemes in 11th five-year plan. An in-principle approval has also already been granted by Planning Commission.
“The government sees massive manpower requirement by the sector in future. Additional workforce required by the hydrocarbon sector is expected to be 12,000 in 2010 and 23,000 in 2015, and the existing institutes are not equipped to meet the demand. The government considered capacity enhancement of select institutions such as Indian School of Mines and IITs, but these institutions are not exclusive in nature”, an official said.
The proposal of the institute has already drawn the support of the department of science & technology, ministry of human resource development, department of public enterprises and ministry of law & justice.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Sunday November 12 2006 00:00 IST
T’PURAM: Members of Parliament from Kerala on Saturday decided to voice their concern and to use their collective power to get the centre saction the state’s demands.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, who convened the conference, asked the MPs to put pressure on the centre for speedy implementation of the pending projects of the state. The centre had provided assistance to the agriculture sector, he said, adding farmers still resorted to suicide, which was unfortunate.
He asked the members to exert pressure on the centre for more assistance to Kerala farmers. On the Vizhinjam deep sea transhipment terminal, Achuthanandan said a clarification from the centre was needed in this respect. “Security clearance was denied to the Vizhinjam project. But the centre had not specified on what basis the clearance was denied”, he said.
He also said the centre should come out with an agriculture debt relief commission. The 17-MPs who attended the conference resolved to lobby with the centre for the speedy implementation of the projects put forward by the state.
They also said that the opening of the two institutions - IIT and the Indian institute of science - would be raised during the parliament session.
Moily committee recommendation worsens inequity?
- it should be preceded by correction mechanisms.
Chitta Baral, Professor, Arizona State University. firstname.lastname@example.org
How can it be?
The Moily committee was established to figure out ways to implement
additional reservations for OBC categories in various centrally
funded institutions across India in such a way that the number of
seats currently available for the general category students does not
The Moily committee has come up with a road map of extending the
capacity of the various centrally funded educational institutions
by 54%. For the existing institutions it gives an estimate of
additional expenditure so that these institutions can increase
their intake by 54% without affecting their quality parameters
such as student-teacher ratio.
The pages 84-86 of the Moily committee report – available in the
planning commission web site – lists the various centrally funded
institutions under its purview and estimated expenditure for those
institutions. We used that data to see how much the Moily committee
recommends spending in various states of India. In this we focused
on the HRD ministry funded institutions and did not consider the
medical and the agricultural institutions as they are funded by
other ministries. Moreover the existing inequity in medical spending
is being corrected through the establishment of 6 new AIIMS-like
institutions and upgradation of several existing institutions.
We found that the committee recommends spending Rs. 97.94 per person
across India. Among the states, the expenditure per person is
highest in Delhi (Rs. 1685.64) followed by Uttaranchal (Rs.
585.16), Tripura (Rs. 158.72), Himachal Pradesh (Rs. 128.3), Assam
(Rs. 127.52), Meghalaya (Rs. 122.92), West Bengal (Rs. 122.09),
Jharkhand (Rs. 117.48), UP (Rs. 110.99), Manipur (Rs. 109.43) and
Mizoram (Rs. 98.29). On the bottom end Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and
Sikkim have zero estimated expenditure, followed by Bihar (Rs.
13.13), Andhra Pradesh (Rs. 24.46), Rajasthan (Rs. 25.08), Gujarat
(Rs. 30.82), Orissa (Rs. 33.59), Kerala (Rs. 49.24), Madhya Pradesh
(Rs. 49.35), Maharashtra (Rs. 59.67), Haryana (Rs. 62.84),
Chhatisgarh (Rs. 70.51), Nagaland (Rs. 70.86), Punjab (Rs. 81.06),
Karnataka (Rs. 91.96), Tamil Nadu (Rs. 97.36) and Jammu & Kashmir
(Rs. 97.76). The spreadsheet that calculates these numbers is
available at http://www.equitableindia.org.
The above numbers are additional expenditure estimate in lieu of the 54%
increase in seats and do not include the regular expenditure. The
regular expenditures are not easily available as in the Indian
budget the expenditure for all IITs are given as a single number,
and the same is true with respect to the IIMs, the NITs, and the
central universities. Nevertheless, the above numbers give a good
idea of the later numbers.
In the past, news items such as Chetan Chauhan's November 4th
article in Hindustan Times gave some partial information of inequity
in state wise higher education funding and its impact. In that
article he says: "as many as 20 per cent of urban youth are enrolled
in colleges as compared to just 7.9 per cent in rural India. Orissa,
which gets dismal allocation for higher education from the Centre,
has only 4.1 per cent rural youth enrolled. Similar pattern is
observed in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. The
exceptions are the north-eastern states, where most universities are
funded by the Central Government, with overall higher education
enrolment figure close to 40 per cent." Using the Moily committee
numbers, for the first time an average citizen can get a clear idea
on how India has discriminated and continues to discriminate among
its states with respect to HRD spending on centrally funded
institutions. Thus, unless balancing mechanisms are used the Moily
committee recommendation further worsens the existing inequity.
Fortunately, there have been second hand indications that the HRD
ministry may take some balancing actions. In particular, three IITs
have proposed branch campuses with the aim to make them full-fledged
IITs with similar number of students within a few years: Besides a
proposal for a research campus in Kolkata, IIT Kharagpur has
proposed a branch campus in Bhubaneswar, Orissa; IIT Madras has
proposed a branch campus in Kerala; and IIT Bombay has proposed a
branch campus in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. We sincerely hope that the
HRD ministry formally approves and announces these initiatives at
the earliest so that subsequent approval of the Moily committee
recommendations will not be seen as worsening the inequitable
distribution of HRD money in centrally funded institutions. In
addition similar initiatives must be made with respect to Bihar,
Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, the other three big states at the
bottom of the HRD spending figure. The established IIMs, many of
which are having difficulty in finding adjoining space for
expansion, should follow the lead of IIT Kharagpur, Madras and
Bombay and consider establishing branch campuses in other states.
Finally, we hope that the planning commission and the HRD ministry
will notice the correlation and causal connection between the higher
education enrollment figure of close to 40 percent in the north east
states and the fact that most universities in those states are
centrally funded, and adopt a similar approach to the backward and
super backward districts of India. In particular, they should plan
the establishment of multi-campus (a la Delhi University and
Allahabad University) distributed central universities in backward
district clusters of India.
Monday, November 06, 2006
By: Staff Reporter
Powai - 05 Nov 06 :Last week, the IIT-Powai board sent its proposal to the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development for the final nod to the new campus to be located in 300 acres area in Ganghinagar, Gujarat to be named IIT-G. This would not be an extension of IIT Powai but a full fledged campus some three kms from the state capital. The Gujarat campus would have 4,000 - 4,500 students, almost the same as Powai.
“We are just waiting for a nod from the Centre, and construction would be up and going in next six months. The project was conceived by the Chief Minister himself and the government has put it on fast track,” said P Paneerval, Principal Secretary, Min. of Education.
The proposed institute will have courses specific to the development of the State, like Marine and Ship Building , Textile Engineering, and Aeronautical Engineering. The new campus would be ready only by 2008, IIT-G would start functioning from the Gandhinagar Engineering College campus on the Koba highway from April-June 2007.
“Provisions are being made for faculty and holding of the Joint Entrance Exam here as well. We were earlier trying to take land in Ahmedabad, but later zeroed in on Gandhinagar for its excellent institutional development,” said a senior official of Education Department to media last week.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Chetan Chauhan, New Delhi, November 4, 2006
The latest National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) findings put the gross enrolment ratio in higher education at just 11.4 per cent as against University Grants Commission claim of 13 per cent.
The NSSO clearly demonstrates a widening urban-rural gap in education, girl child and weaker sections not reaching the highest level of competitive education and dramatic fall in classroom attendance as students reach higher level of education.
With higher education infrastructure growing mostly in urban areas, as many as 20 per cent of urban youth are enrolled in colleges as compared to just 7.9 per cent in rural India. Orissa, which gets dismal allocation for higher education from the Centre, has only 4.1 per cent rural youth enrolled. Similar pattern is observed in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. The exception are the north-eastern states, where most universities are funded by the Central Government, with overall higher education enrolment figure close to 40 per cent.
The debate over reservation to socially weaker sections in admission in higher educational institutions gets an interesting backing from the report findings. The study says the forward castes are much ahead of SCs/STs and OBCs when it comes to enrolment in colleges. As compared to just 8.2 per cent for SC, 8.9 per cent for STs and 9.5 per cent for OBCs, the enrolment figure for forward castes is about 17 per cent. However, their enrolment at primary level is comparative with forward castes.
The social bias against the girl child is clearly evident from the NSSO findings. Though 79 per cent of the girl population enrol in schools only 7.7 per cent reach higher educational institutions. The enrolment rate of boys in colleges is almost double than that of girls even though the difference in admission between the two at primary level is just five per cent.
If the girl is born in the weaker section, reaching higher education becomes even more difficult. Only 4.9 per cent Scheduled Caste girls reach higher education, with girls in Other Backward Classes slightly better with 5.8 and as high as seven per cent in Scheduled Tribes. But among forward castes, the number of girls taking admission in colleges is as high as 13 per cent.
Earlier this week, UGC chairman SK Thorat at an ASSOCHAM seminar on higher education had called private participation to bridge these disparities.
Monday October 30 2006 12:21 IST
KOCHI: Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) might not see itself being upgraded to Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IIEST).
The "yes", but "no" message sent by the State Government to the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has cast a shadow in the university.
It is learnt that the State Government has given a conditional nod for the proposal. Government sources have confirmed, "We have agreed in principle, but have asked for further negotiations." The clauses laid down by the government pertaining to student intake and constitution of the governing council in the letter of consent may not go down well with the MHRD.
The Professor M Anandakrishnan Committee, which identified Cusat and four other institutions to be upgraded as IIESTs, has clearly stated in its report that the IIESTs would have to preserve an all-India character in student population through national-level admission tests, either by adopting the Joint Entrance Examination system of the Indian Institutes of Technology or the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination. This clause is not acceptable to the State Government. "We have objections to this clause. Though we have not asked for specific percentage, our demand is that a major portion of students should be from Kerala," government sources said.
The government has also objected to some of the recommendations regarding the constitution of the governing council of the institute. The government suggested that it should have considerable representation in the governing council. Out of the estimated 12 members in the council, the government can now recommend three to four persons. And the government wants more representation. Each institute will have an executive council and an academic council to be chaired by the president of the institute.
"It is really unfortunate that we are not able to take advantage of such a proposal. It is perhaps one of the largest investments in higher education post-Independence and nobody is excited about the proposal," said Cusat Vice-Chancellor P K Abdul Azis. Of the total budgetary recommendation of Rs 2,407.86 crore for these institutions during the 2007-2012 plan period, Cusat will get Rs 518.81 crore, he said.
IIESTs will be predominantly postgraduate institutions offering five-year integrated dual degree (BTech/M.Tech), two-year MArch, five-year integrated MSc, two-year master's degree programmes in arts, science, architecture and management and PhD programmes. IIESTs will also have specific provisions for international students and faculty. The other four institutions identified to become IIESTs are the Bengal Engineering and Science University, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, College of Engineering, Andhra University, and University College of Engineering and Technology, Osmania University.
It is learnt that the State Government has given a conditional nod for the proposal.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
|PM ADDRESSES 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS OF KERALAPPIRAVI |
| ||20:28 IST|
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, participated in the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the State of Kerala at Thiruvananthapuram, today. Following is the text of the Prime Minsiter’s address at the occasion:
“I am truly delighted to be with you on this important occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the State of Kerala. I join you in saluting the great leaders of Kerala who contributed to the emotional and political integration of this great State. The people of Kerala have made India proud. Your creativity, your enterprise, your skills and hard work have won you laurels across the world and across our vast nation. Kerala has progressed a great deal in these past fifty years. I hope the next century will be Kerala’s century.
In the fifty years of its existence as a state of our Republic, Kerala has achieved international fame for its record in human development particularly in the fields of education, health and women empowerment. Among Indian states, it is by far the best in this regard and its record compares favourably with advanced countries in the world. The Kerala Model has proved that people of developing countries can enjoy a quality of life that can equal those of the best through the right mix of policies.
Kerala has been able to achieve this through radical redistribution of assets, investment in human development, democratic participation and collective action. In doing so, it has presented a model to the world that is worthy of emulation and is widely studied all over the world.
Kerala has always welcomed change from all corners and, as visualized by Gandhiji, you have kept your doors and windows open to ideas from across oceans and mountains. The rulers of Kerala were progressive even in pre-independence days, giving priority to health, education and the arts. Christian Missionaries whom Kerala welcomed, further advanced this trend. There were several social reform movements pioneered by Sri Narayana Guru, Chattambi Swamikal, Ayyankali, Mannathu Padmanabhan, Swami Ananda Theerthan, VT Bhattathiripad and others that sought an egalitarian order or fought specific prejudices. Their progressive ideas helped in the state’s development.
Education has played a critical role in Kerala’s transformation. The yearning of every Keralite for acquiring knowledge was best exemplified by the great Adi Sankara himself. Knowledge that was once the privilege of a few was democratized and made available to all. I am told there is a library in every village in Kerala. I hope this will soon be true of every village in the country.
In fact the worship of knowledge and the written word is an intrinsic part of our civilization and culture. In the river-island of Majuli in Assam, God is worshipped in the form of the written word of a manuscript. Sikhs worship the wisdom and humanism embodied in the Guru Granth Sahib. For millions of Indians, Saraswati Puja is a celebration of our devotion to learning. The regular study of the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran shows the value all of us attach to learning.
Here, in Kerala, all these religious streams have come together and lived together in harmony. Kerala has for long remained an admirable symbol of the idea of “unity in diversity”. I urge each one of you to make sure that Kerala continues to be a fine example of our composite culture. Kerala should show the entire country, indeed the entire world, how people of different faiths can live together, work together, in peace and harmony.
Your investment in human development has contributed to your social and geographical mobility. Keralites have traveled to far corners of the world, performing a wide range of services. I take this occasion to specially greet non-resident Keralites living abroad and sending their savings home, Their remittances help your economy and contribute to our national resources. The overseas Keralites are the biggest beneficiaries of open borders and free movement of people. They can help in generating new thoughts and ideas for the progress of this State.
While the people of Kerala will continue to do well outside, we must also make sure that we create conditions in Kerala that will enable every Keralite to live up to her or his full potential. Some feel that the Kerala model may be fraying on the edges; that it is unable to generate adequate growth to build on its excellent record in welfare and human development. Kerala also needs new avenues of economic growth and employment generation. The State must invest more in skill-based education to increase the employability of its youth. The recent outbreaks in epidemics that affected Kerala also point to the fact that while curative services have increased their spread, public health issues remain weak.
Kerala has demonstrated the importance and efficacy of public investment in social sectors. However, public services are the instruments through which human development takes place, not an end in themselves. We need to work to upgrade the quality of public services and make them more efficient, more relevant to our times and more focused on meeting current needs.
Kerala has already taken a major lead in tourism, which has considerable employment potential. Kerala also needs new investment in horticulture, dairy farming, agri-business, information technology and the services sector. It must build on its excellent human resource base to promote the manufacturing and service sectors. I am aware that the agriculture sector in the State faces several challenges. Paddy cultivation seems to be on the decline, threatening many livelihoods. Plantation crops such as tea, coffee, spices and traditional industries such as coir and cashew are passing through periodic crises. Many feel that this has been caused by the winds of globalisation and the threat of imports.
The problem may lie elsewhere – in poor productivity. Kerala is known for its outward look and is a beneficiary of the outward flow of its people. We must tackle the problems of these crops, not by shutting the doors but by applying modern science and technology to improve yields and productivity. I am confident that Keralites will be able to meet this challenge successfully. The UPA government is drawing up an integrated plan for resolving the problems of these crops. We will design supportive policies for traditional industries like coir and cashew. I assure you that our Government will do whatever is needed and possible to sustain and revitalize the plantation economy in Kerala.
Fifty years is a short time in the life of a State. In these fifty years Kerala has built on its strengths. Most importantly, the people of this state have challenged insular thinking. Historically, Kerala has been open to international trade and commerce. This has made it possible to Keralites to be global citizens and outward-bound.
Kerala has engineered a politics that is both inclusive and mature enough to engage with the challenges of a globalised world on equal terms. Kerala has created a society that is tolerant of differing world views. Kerala’s culture is enriched by multiple influences fromdifferent parts of the world and India.
Kerala also represents a society where change happened from below and not dictated from above. It is a tribute to those engaged in public life in this State, its political leadership, its social leadership and its intellectual community of creative artists, academics, writers and others who were collectively engaged in contributing to a transformation of relationships from dependency to self respect and dignity. This is an appropriate occasion to remember and salute the contribution of Kerala’s leaders and thinkers in all fields.
The UPA Government will extend wholehearted support and co-operation to the various development proposals made by the Chief Minister during his speech. The demands for setting up an IIT and Institute of Science in Kerala, will be further examined and I will ask the HRD Minister to give particular attention to the needs of Kerala.
The time has come for Kerala to look ahead and think anew. A few hundred meters from where we are gathered today, is a statue of the reformer poet, Kumaran Asan, with the following lines from him inscribed.
Mattuvin chattangalel Mattuvin chattangale! Allenkil mattum athukalee ningalethanl (Reform, change the rules! Else those very rules will be your downfall)
This is a clarion call for change and for a permanent revolution in thought and action. If we don’t heed that call, yesterday’s dogma can become today’s prejudice. Yesterday’s change agents may become today’s status quoits. This call is all the more relevant today when we are living in a world where fundamentalisms of thought are challenging the people and their notions of humanity and social justice. To counter these, we need to nurture the impulses of creativity, restlessness, and change. We need to constantly question the environment around us.
Centuries ago, Kerala imagined a society built on equity and shared prosperity. The festival of Onam is a festival of remembrance and rededication to those goals. This imagination is still relevant for much of India. I call upon the youth of this State to show how we can combine the struggle for social justice and equity with a drive to be more creative and productive. To my mind that would be the fitting way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Kerala. I wish you all a bright and prosperous future. I wish your celebrations all success.”
Future belongs to Kerala: PM
The next hundred years will belong to Kerala, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday, praising the state for having kept open its doors and windows to the world and adapting to changes.
He also said that another Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and an Institute of Science will be set up in Kerala.
'Fifty years have gone by and you have reached a new level. Now the next century belongs to Kerala,' he said while inaugurating the state's golden jubilee celebrations here.
'You Keralites have kept your doors and windows open to the world and have been able to adapt to changes. The unity in diversity is best seen in Kerala. I am truly delighted to be with you on the golden jubilee of the formation of your state.'
Manmohan Singh, who arrived here Tuesday night, said his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will wholeheartedly support Kerala's demands presented to him by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan.
Referring to the demands, he said: 'Already you have an Indian Institute of Management and now I would ask my minister to see that an Indian Institute of Technology and an Institute of Science are set up here.
'We shall also design supportive policies for coir and cashew and also revitalise the plantation economy.'
Manmohan Singh praised the efforts of non-resident Keralites (NRKs) and asked them to generate newer ideas for the growth of the state.
'The need of the hour for you is to create conditions inside the state to help everyone to be on their own. The state should invest in skill-based sectors to generate newer employment opportunities. The public service should be upgraded to meet the needs of time,' he added.
He also called for the creation of a new political culture of working together.
'Kerala has to look ahead and think anew. Reforms and changes are the need of the hour. Otherwise, yesterday's dogma would be today's prejudices,' said Manmohan Singh.
Earlier, the prime minister laid the foundation stone for two new airport expansion projects in Kerala - a new terminal for the international airport and a maintenance/hangar unit of Air India.
'Our UPA government will give all help for the development of infrastructure of Kerala and we will do everything to improve connectivity, which has been a long-standing demand from here,' he said on the occasion.
Manmohan Singh complimented the efforts of Keralites the world over in keeping India's economy on an 'even keel'.
'The remittances of you Keralites have helped the balance of payments and India's economy is on an even keel.'
The areas where the state was lagging behind were industrial development and knowledge-based industries, he said. 'With the excellent human development index, progress in healthcare and education, you can catch up.'
He gave an assurance that his government would not do anything that would harm the agricultural sector.
'We are aware of the problems in the plantation sector here and you should be prepared to deal with competition in this sector from friendly neighbouring countries. The need of the hour is to use modern technology to improve agricultural productivity,' the prime minister said.
'You have the potential to make a great leap forward and for that the people, political fronts, business and the social structure should come together... And you should never fall prey to sectarian tendencies,' he added.
The prime minister returned to New Delhi in the evening.