DIRECTOR’S ADDRESS FOR CONVOCATION 2017
DIRECTOR’S ADDRESS FOR CONVOCATION 2017
Our Distinguished Chief Guest Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Principal Advisor, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, Members of the Board of Governors, Members of Senate of IIT Ropar, Invited Dignitaries, Graduating class of 2017 and their proud parents and guardians, Members of Press and Electronic Media, Faculty members, Ladies and Gentlemen, I extend the most cordial and hearty welcome to each one of you on the occasion of the 6th Convocation of IIT Ropar. It is a difficult task for me wearing two hats for this convocation both as Acting Chairman of Board of Governors and Director of the institute. Hence in the next half an hour or so I will try to give you a report of the institute for the last one year as well as some words of advice to the graduates.
It is really a pleasure and an honor for me to welcome our esteemed Chief Guest Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, who will be delivering the 6th Convocation address. We all in the academia and public life know the brilliance and enthusiasm of Prof. Jhunjhunwala in bringing out the changes in the lives of millions and millions of people of this country using technology as a tool. I had the personal privilege of observing him doing this for more than last two decades from a close distance at IIT Madras and often wondered how a person can have so much energy and ideas along with the passion to serve the people. IIT Madras Research Park, which is the only university based research park in the country as of today is the brainchild of Prof. Jhunjhunwala. He is probably the finest example how an academic person of great repute can bring about entrepreneurship, constantly work with industry and deliver technologies not only for the industry but for the masses particularly in rural India. For this the nation has endowed him with Padmashree. He is also contributing to the country in his advisory capacity to the Government of India at various levels at different points of time which include being a member of Scientific Advisory Council of Prime Minister and his present position of the Principal Advisor, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy. Thank you very much Sir for being with us.
The most important landmark of this year for IIT Ropar must have been the adoption of our Mission, Vision and Motto of the institute which read as:
Mission: To foster a transformative learning environment and a culture of excellence enabling creation of knowledge and development of socially responsible, enterprising leaders contributing significantly to national progress and humanity
Vision: To be a trendsetter among the technology universities born in this millennium
Motto:धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्- (deploy our intellect on the right path)
The above Mission, Vision and Motto was adopted through an elaborative procedure participated enthusiastically by an overwhelming 70% of the internal stakeholders such as faculty, students and staff and other stakeholders such as Ministry, Members of BoG and other agencies. The exercise was supported by IIM Kolkata and we are in the process of adopting our strategic plan to realize this Mission and Vision.
This has been an exciting year of realization of dreams as well as of extending our dreams to touch the sky. The most important of them is probably today’s event itself which is being held for the first time in our new campus. During the farewell meeting of this batch of graduating students, you made a request to hold your convocation in the new campus. I understood your emotions and promised it. Many concerns were raised about the possibility of realizing it but we stayed on course and fulfilled our commitment by holding it in the new campus which will definitely increase your mental bonding with the institute.
Moving to this campus is our top priority and over the last two and half years our main endeavor was to accelerate the construction of the campus. Hence I will start with the details of the development of this campus. Surely reaching this stage of development of new campus was not an easy task. We formed a Construction Monitoring Group to act as liaison between the institute, CPWD, Consultants, Contractors, public and private organizations and institutions along with experts in fields of civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, architectures, planning, and development. According to a letter received from Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) recently in the list of financial expenditure, among the 8 new IITs which started in 2008, IIT Ropar tops in the utilization of funds for the creation of infrastructure with more than 63% utilization of funds followed by IIT Jodhpur at 60%, IIT Bhubaneswar at 58%, IIT Indore at 51%, IIT Mandi at 33%, IIT Patna at 32%, IIT Hyderabad at 29% and IIT Gandhinagar at 26%. This is in sharp contrast with the scenario two and a half years back when IIT Ropar was at the bottom with least funds utilized among all 8 new IITs. This tells about the positivity that we have been able to generate and the lightening pace at which we have been able to create infrastructure. In fact the whole area where we are standing was almost green fields without any significant sign of infrastructure above the ground. It is the hard work of each of the persons involved that we have been able to push our infrastructure building at this pace.
The group has successfully set the priorities for the completion of various buildings including this one and the 1st phase known as Phase 1A comprising of 8500 sq. m. which will be completed by early 2018. From the next academic session by IIT Ropar we will mean this campus and the two transit campuses will be only subsidiary ones. During the last year also the construction of our next phase i.e. Phase 1B has gained momentum through which the entrance, pillars and playgrounds are getting ready and our 3rd Phase 1C is about to be tendered. In total we are committed to finish this phase of construction of 2.5 million sq. ft. by the mid of 2019 at a budgeted expenditure of 1231 cr., accommodating 2650 students, nearly 250 faculty members and adequate staff. This is a gigantic leap and I must congratulate the institute’s construction monitoring mechanism, CPWD and all contractors working for the tremendous effort that they have put in to accelerate this work during the last three years.
During this year we have seen our student strength jumping from 820 to 1120 and faculty strength jumping from 84 to 115 for which special off-shore recruitment team had visited UK, US, Canada, Australia and Singapore during the last year and a number of faculty members were recruited through them. Our undergraduate intake jumped from 155 to 260 this year. This necessitated us to initiate a second transit campus at the premises of NIELIT within a very short time. I appreciate the resilience the students have shown during the difficult early days at the new transit campus and the tireless efforts that the institute faculty and staff made to make this effort successful. We have also started a 2-Week Induction program for UG students in the month of July and the concept of universal human values was one of the main components of the program.
During this year we have started B. Tech. program in Chemical Engineering, M. Tech. programs in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Engineering. We are planning to start a new program in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering from the next academic year. This was also a remarkable year for us in which we introduced our new curriculum, moving away from the previous curriculum which was designed by IIT Delhi. This curriculum was specifically designed by a team of young faculty members of our institute led by Dr. Jitendra Prasad with inputs from academicians from all across the country. The team carried out a thorough research to look into the need of the students and the nation and brought out a curriculum which is based on strong fundamentals but with more hands-on experience catering the societal needs and the demand of the nation. The team has done a commendable job and I congratulate them for this effort.
A number of GIAN courses with experts from various countries were organized which saw a huge success in terms of participations as well as collaboration opportunities. Till date the institute has successfully conducted 6 GIAN Courses in 2016 on Mechanobiology, Robotic Systems, Data Driven Kinematic Synthesis, Biomimetics, Surface Engineering, Fatigue Mechanics with experts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, State University of New York (SUNY), Ohio State University, FractureLabs, LLC [United States of America], University of Gävle [SWEDEN], Swinburne University [Australia]
IIT Ropar community is passionate about research. We are known for the quality of research which is also an integral part of the institute’s vision. Our research quality and impact can be ascertained from the average citation per paper which stands at 8.23 which is highest among all new IITs as per recent data. We have had a steady rise in the number of research scholars which stands at 284 today with 119 scholars joining during the last year. During the current year the faculty members and scholars of the institute have published 230 journal papers in high impact international journals. We are constantly upgrading our research infrastructure with sophisticated research equipments catering not only to our research scholars but also to a large number of institutions in and around Punjab to promote research culture in this region.
To promote free thinking, Research Retreat was arranged at Kasauli which helped to find out the focus areas of the institute. It provided an opportunity to explore deeply both our strengths and weaknesses and helped in deciding the future path of research for the entire institute.
We all know that it takes some time to start seeing the fruits of efforts put on research. However, for us the indications of that have already started appearing. This year our faculty members and students have won a number of national awards. The foremost of them are “NASI-SCOPUS young scientist award” awarded to Dr. Rajendra Srivastava of Department of Chemistry in the field of Chemistry, “NASI young scientist platinum jubilee award” awarded to Dr. Durba Pal, in the field of Biomedical, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, of Center for Biomedical Engineering and Dr. Narinder Singh has been awarded with Prof. S. S. Sandhu Medal by Indian Chemical Society, Kolkata in the field of Environmental and Analytical Chemistry on 53rd convention of Indian Chemical Society held at Visakhapatnam. One of our PhD students, Mr. Gurvinder Pal Singh Sodhi, received best presentation award in the International Conference on Innovative Engineering Materials (ICIEM 2017) held at Philadelphia, USA. Recently, Mr. Navin Kumar, PhD scholar from Physics department has secured Bhaskara Advanced Solar Energy (BASE) fellowship.
During this year we have hosted a number of workshops and conferences such as ROS, TC2S-2017 and CATCON 2017.We have also hosted Research Day in the departments of Physics and Mathematics. During this year we have taken major steps to revisit our Ph. D. program with new Ph. D. rules.
As an institute we would like to focus research not only on the problems of the country in general but also on specific problems of the region around us. In this regard I would mention few specific problems which we are committed to take up in the coming days, such as the problems of water resources, crop burning and soil degradation in this agriculture dominated region along with the development of food processing and food preservation technologies. We are also committed to local micro grids and healthcare problems particularly that of Cancer which is predominant in this region of Punjab.
Our performance in the campus placements is going up continuously for the last couple of years. An overwhelming response from the industry in general and core industries in particular was seen at campus recruitments, resulting in 83.16% of our students being placed this year. More than 90% of Computer Science Engineering, close to 80% of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students have been placed through campus interviews. An average package of about 11.48 lakhs per annum was offered to students this year.
The companies participating in the campus recruitments included Amazon, Microsoft, Arista Networks, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Larsen & Toubro, Cognizant, Nagarro, Nucleus Software, HCL, etc. Some of the new organizations that took part in the placement process were Directi, DE Shaw, Indian Space Research Organization, Deloitte, Book My Show, Timetooth Technologies, TESCO, L&T Construction, Chegg India, Infosys, Works Applications Ltd., Addverb Technologies, Bharat Dynamics Limited, Indexx Capital, Hyundai Motors, Smartprix, SML Isuzu, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Samsung R&D Institute Noida etc.
A good number of summer internship opportunities were also offered to the students this year by national as well as international organizations. 11 students of this batch took international assignments in University of Southern Buffalo (USA), National University of Singapore, NIIMS Programe (Japan), Phillips (Netherlands), Fuji Films (Japan), SMS Data-Tech (Japan), Tonichi Instatsu (Japan), Otsuka Pharmaceutical (Japan), Accenture (Poland) and Wiezmann Institute of Sciences (Israel).
The Training and Placements department of IIT Ropar is working hard to increase student placement opportunities by establishing a Centre for Career Development which will train our students in communication and soft skills throughout their period of stay at IIT Ropar.
INDUSTRY INTERACTION, PROJECTS & INTERNATINAL RELATIONS
This year IIT Ropar gave a big push towards international collaborations and interactions. Two institute level delegations led personally by me including the institute’s functionaries and domain experts visited Australia, Singapore, Canada, US and Germany establishing contact with 13 universities and research labs in these countries. We entered into MoU with with University of New South Wales, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Simon Fraser University and SUNY Polytechnic, Albany. The MoU covered possibilities of research in thematic areas as well as students & faculty exchange leading to the possibility of joint programs and joint degrees. IIT Ropar has also setup a taskforce to work with JWAFS (Jameel World Water and Food Security) centre at MIT, which will focus on water and food related research. This is seen as a major breakthrough given the environmental challenges faced by the region. We also have had significant interaction with several of world’s leading universities including Macquarie University, Australian National University, National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.
Our approach in this regard is to have intense interaction with a limited number of these universities with a close follow-up mechanism. Our faculty members already spent useful time at State University of New York, Binghamton and Cardiff University this summer. A number of faculty delegation visited the above universities along with some students’ visits as well.
We have started a unique “Summer Visitation Program” through which the institute has given full financial support to 10 faculty members of the institute to visit some of the finest research labs of the world for a period of 5-10 weeks. The faculty members were chosen for this program on competitive basis based on their research performance. I am sure this will give a tremendous impetus to research at IIT Ropar. We have also made important steps in connecting with our diaspora. In this regard, I am happy to announce the formation and registration of the IIT Ropar Foundation that will be based in Chicago and a council of Global Associates of IIT Ropar as well. We have setup an Alumni Association to interact and keep connected with our vibrant and ever growing alumni base. The newly formed independent International Relations office is expected to create a significant impact our international interactions.
An Industry Academia Conclave was organized by IIT Ropar to launch the Industrial Associates Scheme of the institute. The key objective of the event was to bring industry close to the institute and provide a formal structure through which interactions with them can be initiated on a regular basis. The interactions will include research projects, sponsored labs, internships and placements. About 25 members from various industries, out of which 19 joining Industry Associates Scheme attended the event. During this year a number of MoUs were signed with industries. The most important ones were with Raychem RPG Limited and Cheema Boiler Limited which were signed during the Visitor’s Conference at Rashtrapati Bhawan in the presence of the Visitor, Hon’ble President of India Sh. Pranab Mukherjee in November 2016.
Our activities with respect to Industrial Consultancy & Sponsored Research have been increasing at a very good pace. Till now the institute has received a total of 155 projects with an outlay of Rs. 50.59 crores and out of this the count for year 2016-17 was 30 projects with an outlay of 12.31 crores. It requires some time for the young faculty members to grow expertise and take up consultancy projects and IIT Ropar though started slowly is now peaking up. There has been an increase in Industrial Consultancy from a meager value of 4 projects in 2015-16 to 5 projects in 2016-17. We expect a multifold increase in this figure during the current year. What is encouraging for us is to get consultancy from DRDO, Microsoft Corporation, RBS Ltd. & Apen Bulter Hill, USA, which indicates our potential that needs to be converted in the years to come.
Due to increase in the number and the diversity of student population at IIT Ropar, the activities of the student bodies became increasingly intense during the past year. We tried to create a very conducive atmosphere not only for the all round development of the students but also for making the stay of the student an enjoyable one.
We Indians are fond of festivals and in Punjab we don’t leave any opportunity to celebrate. As part of the yearly bonanza of ZEITGEIST which generates enthusiasm not only in our students but also in the students of the whole region, we introduced a technical fest called ADVITIYA this year. Our cultural fest gave emphasis to both classical and modern forms of performances. The technical fest was preceded by an Intra-Institutional technological bonanza called QUINTESSENCE. Apart from these festivals, the students enthusiastically celebrated Gandhi Jayanti, Republic Day, Independence Day and Rashtrya Ekta Diwas.
Our sports activities went up during this year. We have started celebrating our Sports Day “AAROHAN” on annual basis with other neighboring institutes of the region such as IISER, Chandigarh University and Youth Welfare Club Ropar (Mianpur) participating in the event. International Hockey player and former Indian Hockey team CaptainMr. Sandeep Singh was the Chief Guest for the occasion. We also organized a Summer Sports Camp during the summer vacations and celebrated Yoga Day on the 21st June followed by a ten day long Yoga camp. We had a large contingent of participants in Inter-IIT Sports meet held at IIT Kanpur where our students have improved performance in various events. IIT Ropar feels proud in announcing that its Students namely Mr. Skthidasan. K, Mr. Raghav Sharma, Mr. Koustav Das and Mr. Manjunath Penugonda, have been adjudged as the best entry from this region in the RBI Policy Challenge contest organized by the RBI.
Dear Graduating class of 2017 and the recipients of Ph. D. degrees of IIT Ropar. This must be a red letter day in your life, the culmination of long aspiration and hard work over years and years together. This must also provide a sense of immense satisfaction for your parents and guardians who sacrificed immensely to see you successful. Success calls for celebration but always with responsibility of building up your future based on this success. You must understand that this success is the beginning of the lifelong learning process and the key to this learning is inquisitiveness that you can carry forward. Once Albert Einstein said, "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious".
This was also corroborated by Mahatma Gandhi who said "Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisites for acquiring learning of any kind." It is the strength of this continuous learning and desire of innovation which can bring change to the world and as Nelson Mandela said "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world".
Life is not a 100 meter run, it is a marathon and hence it is not the start but the stamina, consistency and motive which will keep you on the course of victory. You have achieved a lot but there are even higher peaks to be conquered. Firstly you should consider yourself to be fortunate being in an age in which this country is looking up and playing an increasingly important role at the global stage. This will give you opportunities which were unthought-of a few decades ago. You should make a complete utilization of these opportunities. Today Indians are heading global companies, Indian companies are making global impacts and Indian academics have reached global standards. You have a lot to aspire and contribute to this. Being a part of a premier institute of national importance the amount of attention and resources that the nation has paid to you is unparalleled. You can understand it very well when you compare with the same spent on your friends who were not so lucky to enter such an institute. Hence you have a responsibility not only towards your parents and family but also to your nation which has made you what you are today. Whether it is excellence in profession, higher education or entrepreneurship, this country demands that as you are regarded the best in your domain, you should be the leaders in the respective domains. IITs don’t just produce Engineers but they produce leaders in every field and only under your leadership this great country can become even greater.
I take this opportunity to thank Sh. Prakash Javadekar, Hon'ble Minister of HRD for all his support and guidance. I also express my sincere thanks to the Members of BoG, Members of the Senate, faculty, students and staff of IIT Ropar for their continual support and dedication during the last year. This institute is on the path of being a great national and international institute and what can really pull it further up is your performance and success in the future. Wherever you are in whatever position, please remember your Alma Mater where it all began and try to support this institute in all possible ways you can in the future. You are going to be the greatest ambassadors of this institute and with your success and our efforts the Indian Institute of Technology Ropar will fulfill the expectation of this nation.
ॐ सह नाववतु ।
सह नौ भुनक्तु ।
सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om, May we all be protected
May we all be nourished
May we work together with great energy
May our intelect be sharpened (may our study be effective)
Let there be no Animosity amongst us
Om, peace (in me), peace (in nature), peace (in divine forces)