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Home > Press > President's address and interaction with the students of North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong

University a Partner in National Development

"Past meets the present
and creates the future"

President's address and interaction with the students of North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong

Shillong, India | Posted on March 16th, 2007

Following is the text of the address of the President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and interaction with the students of North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong:

"I am delighted to be here in the beautiful environment of Shillong and to interact with the students of North-Eastern Hill University. My greetings to the Vice Chancellor, faculty members, students and other distinguished guests. When I am with you I would like to discuss on the topic "University a Partner in National Development".

I have just now addressed the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. I would like to share with you the missions for Meghalaya's Prosperity. The following are the missions for Meghalaya's Prosperity for the period 2007 to 2017:

1. Agriculture, Horticulture and Floriculture

2. Education and healthcare

3. Water Management

4. Bamboo mission

5. Tourism

6. Establishment of PURA for Rural prosperity

7. Special Economic Zone

Results of these Missions

According to me the results of these missions will be as follows:

1. Agriculture, Horticulture and Floriculture: Enabling doubling of the income of 2 lakh families, provide employment for 42,500 youth. It will also generate export revenue of Rs. 500 Crore.

2. Education and healthcare: Achieving 85% literacy by 2012 and 100% literacy by 2017. Reduce drop out before secondary to less than 30%. Increase yearly enrolment in college to 32,000. Realising provision of quality healthcare to all the citizens of the State for a small fee of Rs. 10 per month per individual for people living above poverty line.

3. Water management: Water management will provide 350 kms of waterways, irrigation for 35 lakh acres, generate 1500 megawatts of power and provide drinking water for 60% people. Water harvesting (Similar to Malse Lake type) will ensure adequate availability of water during the non-rainy season for all the citizens for agriculture and drinking water.

4. Bamboo mission: Create handicrafts and cottage industries jobs for 40,000 youth and generate the revenue of over Rs. 100 crore.

5. Tourism: Increase the domestic tourist from 3,75,000 to one million and foreign tourist from 5,000 to 50,000. This will create 2.5 lakh additional jobs for the youth.

6. Establishment of PURA: Enable creation of ten PURA clusters spread through out the State which will bridge the rural-urban divide and increase the economic prosperity of 80% rural Meghalaya.

7. Special Economic Zone: Establishment of three economic zones will enable additional revenue of Rs.2500 crores and employment for 25,000 people.

Societal Transformation

Effective implementation of these missions will lead to the following societal transformation:

(a) increase the per-capita income of the State to Rs.60,000 from the existing Rs. 23,381 in five years.

(b) Improve the Human Development Index ranking of Meghalaya from the present 24 to less than five.

(c) Realize the goal of total literacy before 2017 by giving highest priority to women's education, particularly the tribal population.

(d) Progressively reduce the number of people living below the poverty line from the existing 45 percent to near zero by 2017.

The full text of my address to the Members of Legislative Assembly is available in my website. I would suggest the Faculty Members and the students of different departments of North Eastern Hill University to study the missions and work out a detailed implementation plan which can be available for the implementation authorities. You can also communicate with me on the missions suggested. Now I would like to discuss on the topic convergence of technologies, since it has large scale applications in societal transforming in the coming decade.

Convergence of Technologies

The information technology and communication technology have already converged leading to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information Technology combined with bio-technology has led to bio-informatics. Now, Nano-technology is knocking at our doors. It is the field of the future that will replace microelectronics and many fields with tremendous application potential in the areas of medicine, electronics and material science. When Nano technology and ICT meet, integrated silicon electronics, photonics are born and it can be said that material convergence will happen. With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new science called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which would lead to a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and high human capabilities. Convergence of bio-nano-info technologies can lead to the development of nano robots. Nano robots when they are injected into a patient, my expert friends say, it will diagnose and deliver the treatment exclusively in the affected area and then the nano-robot gets digested as it is a DNA based product.

Convergence of ICT, aerospace and Nano technologies will emerge and revolutionize the aerospace industry and electronics leading to nano computing systems. This technological convergence will enable building of cost effective low weight, high payload, and highly reliable aerospace systems, which can be used for inter-planetary transportation.

Bioinformatics: The convergence of bioscience and IT into Bioinformatics has given the thrust to researchers for genomics-based drug discovery and development. Pressure is mounting over the pharmaceutical companies to reduce or at least control costs, and have a growing need for new informatics tools to help manage the influx of data from genomics, and turn that data into tomorrow's drugs.

Bioinformatics data play a vital role and emerging as a business model for the medical and pharmaceutical sector. Key areas such as gene prediction, data mining, protein structure modeling and prediction, protein folding and stability, macromolecular assembly and modeling of complex biological systems are thriving and IT has major role to play in these areas in bringing the tools to manage the high throughput experiments and the data they generate, and sharing and integrating all the data in a meaningful way resulting into the detailed models of complex systems, particularly biological pathways. In India, biotechnology research and development is progressing well and making strides in the international arena.

Bio Suite: I launched the Bio-Suite at Hyderabad on 14th July 2004, which is an important software package that caters to all aspects of computational biology from genomics to structure-based drug design. It incorporates the latest publicly known algorithms, as chosen by a panel of academic partners, and has been coded entirely by the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) team, using the software engineering practices. It can be used by academic and R&D institutions, small and medium and large biotechnology companies. This bio-suite was developed by TCS in collaboration with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and academic institutions for cost effective drug development in India.

Nano Technology: When I think of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, I would like to discuss about three scientists who have laid the foundation on nanoscience and nanotechnology. Mr. Richard Feynman, who described the concept of 'building machines" atom by atom in his talk at Caltech titled "There is plenty of room at the bottom". Mr. Eric Drexler, who wrote the book titled 'Nano Systems, Molecular machinery, manufacturing and computation". Prof CNR Rao, pioneered and fostered the nanoscience research in India. Molecular nano technology has enormous potential for future aerospace systems and health areas. Research has shown that newly discovered class of molecules, leading to the development of carbon nano tubes that have multiple applications in the system developed in the areas of electronics particularly nano-electronics and power systems. Carbon nano tubes are normal form of carbon with remarkable electrical and mechanical properties. It is hoped that such materials could revolutionize electronic design and open the space frontier by radically lowering the cost of launch to orbit.

Carbon Nano tubes reinforced with polymer matrix will result in composites which are super strong, light weight, small and intelligent structures in the field of material science. This has tremendous aerospace applications.

Molecular switches and circuits along with nano cell will pave the way for the next generation computers. Ultra dense computer memory coupled with excellent electrical performance will result in low power, low cost, nano size and yet faster assemblies. Let me now share with you some of the Indian achievements in the field of convergence of technologies.

Indian Achievements in Convergence of Technologies

The scientists from Banaras Hindu University have devised a simple method to produce carbon nanotube filters that efficiently remove micro-to nano-scale contaminants from water and heavy hydrocarbons from petroleum. Typhoid Detection Kit has been developed by DRDE, Gwalior using the nano sensor developed by Prof. A.K. Sood, and his team from IISc, Bangalore. Prof AK Sood, professor of Physics at IISc and his student Shankar Ghosh has studied, experimented and found that the liquid flow in carbon nano tubes can generate electric current. The IISc has transferred the exclusive rights of the technology to an American start-up Trident Metrologies. They will develop the prototypes and commercialize the gas flow sensors. A research group headed by Professor A. N. Maitra of the University of Delhi's Chemistry Department has developed 11 patentable technologies for improved drug delivery systems using nano-particles. DMSRDE, Kanpur is synthesizing non-aligned, quasi-aligned and aligned CNT with a batch size of 50 grams using a fast synthesis process. It has a maximum operating temperature 12000 C. The CNTs will have applications in EM absorbers, composites, gas sensors, flow monitors, field emission devices.

Energy for future generations: The era of wood and bio-mass is almost nearing its end. The age of oil and natural gas would soon be over even within the next few decades. The world energy forum has predicted that fossil based oil, coal and gas reserves will last for another 5 - 10 decades only. India is working towards achieving Energy security by 2020 leading to realizing Energy independence by 2030. In this context, let me now focus on very niche area of renewable energy, particularly Solar.

Hydrogen fuel and solar rays are the two modes to get clean power. The solar rays, when passed though presently available solar photovoltaic cells have an efficiency of less than 20%. I would like to discuss the latest research in the area of photo-voltaic cells using Carbon nano tubes which can give an efficiency of over 45%, nearly three times the efficiency which the present technology can offer.

CNT based solar cells for higher efficiency

The low efficiency of conventional photo voltaic cells has restricted the use of solar cells for large application for power generation. Research has shown that the Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) based PV cell with multi junction device could give maximum efficiency of 30%. Therefore, the present research trend is on the use of Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) based PV cell. Both single wall CNTs and multi wall CNTs have been used as electrodes, as electron acceptor, which can split exciton into electrons and holes to produce electricity.

The CNTs provide better electron ballistic transport property along its axis with high current density capacity on the surface of the solar cell without much loss. Higher electrical conductivity and mechanical strength of CNT could improve the quantum efficiency to the order of 35%. But, this is not sufficient. Recent research abroad has shown that the alignment of the CNT with the polymer composites substrate is the key issue and this aligned CNT based PV cells would give very high efficiency in photovoltaic conversion. The polymer composites increase contact area for better charge transfer and energy conversion. In this process, the researchers could achieve the efficiency of about 50% at the laboratory scale. The optimum efficiency was achieved with the aligned CNTs with poly 3 - octyl thiophene (P3OT) based PV cell. I am sure some of the students of this University will be interested in the convergence of technology and may like to pursue higher education in this exciting area. Now I would like to discuss few thoughts on how to realize a peaceful society based on my experience.

Unity of Minds

I visited a Buddhist monastry at Tawang 3500 m. altitude in Arunachal Pradesh in the year 2002. I stayed and spent some time nearly for a day. I observed a unique situation in all the villages nearby where young and experienced were all radiating happiness in spite of severe winter environment. Then, I visited the 400 years old Twang monastery itself and there also I saw monks of all age groups in a state of serenity. I was asking myself what is the unique feature of Twang and surrounding villages which makes people and monks to be at peace with themselves. When the time came, I asked the Chief Monk, how in Tawang villages and monastry I am experiencing peace and happiness being radiated by everyone. There was a pause, the chief monk smiled. He said, "You are the President of India. You will be knowing all about us and the whole nation. Again I said, "it is very important for me, you please give me your thoughtful analysis".

There was a beautiful golden image of Lord Buddha radiating smile and peace. The Chief Monk assembled nearby all his 100 young and experienced monks. The Chief Monk and myself were sitting amidst them. The Chief Monk gave a short discourse, which I would like to share with you. Chief Monk said, "In the present world, we have a problem of distrust, unhappiness transforming into violence. This monastery spreads: when you remove "I" and "Me" from your mind, you will eliminate ego; if you eliminate ego, hatred towards fellow human beings will vanish; If the hatred goes out of our mind, the violence in thinking and action will disappear. If violence in our mind is taken away, peace springs in human minds. Then peace and peace and peace alone will blossom in the society.

In my search for evolving a peaceful and prosperous society, I got part answer. My search for real truth continues. I saw an ancient Christian monastery in Bulgaria where I had a discussion with highly experienced monks on the message of Tawang. The Monk added that forgiveness is also the foundation of good life. Similarly in the birth place of Swami Vivekanand I explained the Tawang experience to the disciples and they too felt the Tawang experience indeed is beautiful and they added giving trait will add to peace and happiness. Then I visited Ajmeer Sharif where I participated in the Friday Namaz. Here, the Sufi expert told me that Almighty's creation the man has been challenged with another powerful creation of Shaitan. Only good deeds lead to good thinking, good thinking results into actions radiating love as commanded by Almighty. The above as well as my interaction with various other spiritual personalities convinces me that unity of mind is achievable, which is essential for promoting peace on the planet earth.

Conclusion: Role of Youth

Youth below 25 years constitute more than half of our population and they will play key roles in the development of the State. The Universities must empower the youth with the capacities so that they can make positive contribution to the growth of the States and the country. The important capacities which they should build among the students are: research and enquiry, creativity and innovation, use of high technology, entrepreneurial leadership and moral leadership. The education system should inject the confidence among the students that "I can do it". They should also make the students a life long autonomous learner. With this capacity built in you by the education system, dear young friends, now it is time for all of you to have a great dream in life, dream transforms into thoughts and thoughts result into action. Now I would like to administer an oath on courage:


Courage to think different,
Courage to invent,
Courage to discover the impossible,
Courage to travel into an unexplored path,
Courage to share the knowledge
Courage to remove the pain
Courage to reach the unreached
Courage to combat the problems
And Succeed,
Are the unique qualities of the youth.

As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all my missions.

My best wishes to all the members of North-Easten Hill University in their mission of providing quality education and capacity building among the youth of North-Eastern region of our country.

May God bless you."


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