The BJP will set up prestigious institutions such as IITs, IIMs and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in every State when it comes to power, said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the party’s prime ministerial candidate.

Students’ access to such prestigious institutions and to education is limited and “this is our biggest challenge,” he said at the ninth convocation of SRM University at Kattankulathur, 35 km south of Chennai.

According to him, it is unfortunate that even after 65 years of Independence, there has not been much focus on education, which is important not only for an individual’s progress but for economic development and nation-building.

“We need to renew our commitment to education and commit ourselves to educating every child.

“We should not be left behind any other country in terms of coverage or quality of education,” he said in a 30-minute speech which was a mix of English and Hindi.

Modi said this is an era of knowledge, which is the most potent tool to fight poverty, and there is no reason why India should lag behind in education.

The nation has the brightest minds and a number of philanthropists, he pointed out.

Too few SRMs

“Why are there only a few SRMs? Why can’t such institutions be established in every nook and corner of the country?” he said, and added that the private sector is eager to enter the field but requires an enabling environment.

It should be given a free hand, he added. However, institution-building has to begin with the government, Modi said.

“It is our commitment to establish an IIT, an IIM and AIIMS in every State,” he added.

Emphasising entrepreneurship development, Modi commented on Hyderabad-born Sathya Nadella’s recent appointment as Microsoft’s CEO. Do a Nadella

“You must dream to reach the heights of Nadella. Create companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google in India, own them and manage them.

“Do whatever you can to make India innovative and competitive,” he said.

According to him, India’s advantage is the demographic dividend, with nearly 65 per cent of the population below the age of 35.

“Give our youth the strength and opportunity, they will do in 60 months what we could not do in 60 years,” he said.

Modi urged students to strengthen their skills and think big.

“When the Japanese are thinking of improving their bullet trains, we are still thinking of adding bogies to our trains,” he said.

Honorary doctorate

SRM University conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Avinash Chader, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Director-General, Defence Research and Development Organisation, for his contribution to science.

This year, 10,290 students graduated in engineering, medical and health sciences, and science and humanities courses.

(This article was published on February 9, 2014)
XThese are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here.