21 Apr 2012

INAE Silver Jubilee Inaugural Function DST Secretary calls for Quality in Engineering Education

Dr. T Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, during his address at the silver jubilee function of The Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), stressed that there is a need to enhance the quality of engineering education in the country. He brought out that though the number of engineering graduates have increased substantially in the past twenty five years, there is a need to improve the quality of engineering education. The Academy should play an important role in this area. 

The Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), founded in 1987, elects most distinguished engineers, engineer-scientists and technologists covering the entire spectrum of engineering disciplines as Fellows from India and world. The Academy was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi in 1987. INAE has been headed in the past by distinguished engineers such as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Prof. P Rama Rao, Prof. PV Indiresan and Dr. K Kasturirangan. 

INAE functions as an apex body and promotes the practice of engineering & technology and the related sciences for their application to solving problems of national importance. The Academy provides a forum for futuristic planning for country’s development requiring engineering and technological inputs and brings together specialists from such fields as may be necessary for comprehensive solutions to the needs of the country. Presently INAE has 685 Fellows from India and 54 Foreign Fellows on its rolls identified in ten Engineering Sections. 

On completion of 25 years of its existence, INAE Silver Jubilee Inaugural Function was organized on April 20, 2012, at Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Auditorium, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi. Dr. R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India was the Chief Guest. A few of the features of this event were: Release of a coffee table book on “Glimpses of Indian Engineering Achievements”; Release of the latest INAE Study Reports on “Technologies for Healthcare Sector in India”; “Assessment of Civil Engineering Inputs for Infrastructural Development” and “Water Resource Management”; Release of INAE video film on Engineering Excellence in India, Release of Special Cover; Presentation of Silver Jubilee Young Engineer Awards; INAE Silver Jubilee Distinguished Lectures by Prof. P Rama Rao, Dr. Anil Kakodkar and Dr. Baba N Kalyani. 

During his address, Dr. Baldev Raj, President, INAE mentioned that the Academy has recently brought out comprehensive and exhaustive Reports covering review of national and international technological and commercial aspects, in the selected areas of national interest, viz., healthcare technologies, civil infrastructure and water resources management. The Academy has also set-up three Forums, viz, INAE Forum on Engineering Education, INAE Forum on Microelectronics and INAE Forum on Energy. One of the focus areas of the Academy is to find innovative mechanisms to increase synergy among the fellows and nurture young leaders capable of meeting the challenges in future and be effective with policy makers to realise paradigm changes to solve the challenges in an inclusive fashion. 

Prof. René Dändliker, President, International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, Inc. (CAETS) during his address mentioned that the primary objective of CAETS is to provide an independent nonpolitical and non-governmental international organization of engineering and technological sciences academies, prepared to advise governments and international organizations on technical and policy issues related to its areas of expertise; contribute to the strengthening of engineering and technological activities in order to promote sustainable economic growth and social welfare throughout the world. He further brought out that during CAETS Annual Meeting and Symposium on August 29-31, 2012 at Zurich, the topics of discussion will be Nuclear Power: National Plans and Attitudes; Promoting Engineering-based Innovation; and Developing Regional Strategies for Adaption to the Effects of Climate Change. 

Dr. R Chidambaram brought that Scientists create Ideas which are converted into products by the Engineers. He emphasized that the wealth of the nation depends on innovative technologies. He mentioned that India, through its Universities, Research Institutions, S&T Departments, including Mission-oriented Agencies (Atomic Energy, Space, Defence Research) has laid a strong foundation for Basic Research as well as Applied Research and Technology Development. For industrial development, we need in-house R&D centres in industry and enhanced academia-industry interactions, and for rural development, we need improved mechanisms for rural technology delivery. These are rapidly growing in India now. 

During this function, Silver Jubilee Distinguished Lecturers were delivered by Prof. P Rama Rao, Chairman, Governing Council, ARCI Hyderabad and former Secretary, Dept of Science & Technology, Govt. of India; Dr. Anil Kakodkar, DAE Homi Bhabha Chair, former Chairman, AEC and Secretary, DAE, Govt. of India; and Dr. Baba N Kalyani, CMD, Bharat Forge Ltd., Pune. 

Prof. P Rama Rao brought out that wealth and prosperity of the nation The wealth and prosperity of a nation depend on the effective utilisation of its human and material resources through industrialisation (investment capital). The use of human material for industrialisation demands its education in science and training in technical skills. He mentioned that India being a vast country, diversity of governance systems is truly mind-boggling and unlike in any other country in the world. Govt support to private institutions should be seriously considered. Prof. P Rama Rao correlated economic growth with relevant post-graduate and doctoral specialization. 

Distinguished Lecture delivered by Dr. Anil Kakodkar was on the subject securing the future of energy in India. He mentioned that the securing India’s future is indeed a major challenge as India alone would need around 40% of present global electricity generation to be added to reach an average 5000 kWh per capita electricity generation. While solar energy represents a large enough energy source provided we can arrange adequate collection area and would take a while to become commercially viable, nuclear energy is the only other large enough clean and sustainable energy source. He highlighted the importance of recycling and Thorium utilization. It is commercially viable and has been providing around a sixth of global electricity for decades. Also it does not emit carbon-di-oxide. However, our uranium resources are very modes. 

Dr. Baba N Kalyani during his Distinguished Lecture mentioned that while China would be second largest economy in the world, India will be third largest economy. There is a dire need for Indian Industry to invest in R&D rather than importing technologies from abroad. For this, the need for indigenous manufacturing technology is vital. He mentioned that Advanced economies (OECD-G7) and Emerging economies are on diverging trajectories. Emerging countries generally have favourable demographics (except China), Govt. debt under 70% of GDP, and prospects of modest to high GDP growth. The world’s economic centre of gravity will shift towards emerging countries in the years to come. He highlighted the importance of high level human expertise, proper policies and need based products. The function was also attended and briefly addressed by the participating Presidents/representatives of the member-academies of International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS). Presidents of Australian Academy, Swiss Academy, Chinese Academy, Netherlands and Finland during their addressed emphasized on the collaboration and activities of mutual interest with INAE. 

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