Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said India needs to understand what the industry requires and educational institutions need to produce students capable of getting into industry to serve the country’s development goals. Sitharaman at an event here said India’s higher education was no less when compared to global universities and people who have studied in Indian universities were the second largest contingent when it comes to managing the best of companies around the world.
Referring to the representation of Saint-Gobain India in the board of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing, Kancheepuram, she said if industries have come to be on the board of research institutes, they know the industry particularly those futuristic ones, especially those sun-rise areas so that India becomes the land for manufacturing some of those critical things for which today we are completely dependent on other countries and when there is supply chain disruption our manufacturing suffers. “What we need to do now is to make sure we understand what the industry needs and be able to manufacture for ourselves and for the world and that is why industry leaders sitting on the boards of such wonderful educational institutions, which draw talent, which bring in best of skills and ability and which have rigorous learning experiences are very important,” she said at the 10th convocation of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing, near here.
“We need to produce students who are capable of getting into industry and getting into industry which serve India’s development goals. I think this synergy is now achieved by most of the institutions because the government speaks to them and they give inputs to the government and as a result you (students) are able to get institutions which are absolutely important,” she said. Referring to data on United Nations population statistics of 2019, she said it has estimated that the working age population of India would overtake China in 2028 and by 2036 the working age population would comprise 65 per cent of the country’s total population. “The productivity, contribution to the GDP (of the country) are all going to be much higher (with the 65 per cent of the working population). And it will happen only if the working population are given equal opportunity, irrespective of gender, societal classes or anything,” she cautioned.
Sitharaman also dismissed comments that India was yet to improve on its education system, and said that some people still say it needs to do more on its education system. “I just want to underline the fact that the higher education system has contributed the best of executives elsewhere. Globally, 58 CEOs of top notch companies are of Indian origin and 11 of them are big corporations which collect revenue of over USD 1 trillion and has a turnover of USD 4 trillion…” she said.
“If 58 Indian origin people have gone to head these companies of this kind of corporate size, they could not have got less education than any others. In fact they have had better education from our higher education institutions,” she added. She pointed to the S&P Global rating agency’s report that there were more Indian CEOs only next to a CEO who is from the United States of America. “Americans may be first. I repeat our higher education system is no less…,” she said.
On the total number of patents filed by Indians, the finance minister said it surged to 66,400 as of 2021-22 as compared to 42,000 in 2014-15. “As many as 42,000 patents were filed in 2014-15 now becoming a 66,400 in a matter of 7-8 years. I am sure some of your patents are also being awaited there for getting your patent rights,” she said addressing the new graduates. Sitharaman said the National Education Policy rolled out by the Centre was giving a lot of emphasis on higher education and even in the union budget presented by her this year, the government announced 750 virtual labs in science and mathematics, 75 skilling e-labs for simulated learning environment marking 75th anniversary of India’s independence.