India strives to eliminate poverty, become middle-income country: President

The heads of leading higher education institutes must discharge their key role as leadership mentors, President said.

India has set itself for sustainable development as it strives to eliminate poverty and become a middle-income country, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday.

The president hosted a conference of 46 heads of central universities and institutes of higher learning in the fields of agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aviation, footwear-design, fashion, petroleum and energy, maritime studies, planning and architecture and information technology.

"India has set itself for sustainable development as it strives to eliminate poverty and become a middle-income country. Each of these institutes will be instrumental to the realisation of our socio-economic goals. The central agricultural universities can support our national goal of promoting sustainable agriculture, productivity and supporting our farmers with useful research," Kovind said in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The same is true of all other institutes linked to different areas be it pharmaceutical, aviation, oceanography, petroleum and energy, IT, Design, Architecture and others. Each of them is doing well but we need to raise the bar further. As our economy grows we need to acquire the scale and efficiency that is greater and better than the best in the world," he added.

The president said while developing their specialisations, these institutes should collaborate and learn from each other.

"This is possible for institutes in the same field. It is also possible across categories. For example, advances in information technology can aid architects and town planners to design smart cities that minimise use of energy. All of them should set up systems that can scout for and support cross-category collaborations which might hold creative promises to solve many of our problems," Kovind said.

"Great institutes of learning are different due to the leadership they nurture and build. The heads of leading higher education institutes must discharge their key role as leadership mentors for the next generation of academic-administrators. This would ensure that we have a ready talent pool of directors, deans and administrators who can conceive, establish and administer our institutes of higher education," he said.

Issues such as promotion of research, promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship among students, building industry - academia linkages, filling up of vacancies, including faculty from foreign universities, creating alumni funding and enhancing alumni activities and completion of major infrastructure projects in a time bound manner, were discussed during the conference.

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