At the 69th convocation of IIT Kharagpur, President Droupadi Murmu emphasized the imperative for India to reflect on the absence of any of its educational institutions among the top 50 globally. While underscoring the significance of good education over rankings, she acknowledged that a strong ranking not only attracts global students and faculty but also enhances the country’s international standing.
President Murmu specifically said, “Not even a single educational institution in such a vast country with the world’s oldest knowledge tradition is amongst the top 50 educational institutions of the world. We need to think about it. The race for ranking is not more important than a good education. But good ranking not only attracts students and good faculty from all over the world but also enhances the reputation of the country.”
She called upon IIT Kharagpur to play a pivotal role in addressing this gap, stating, “Institutions like IIT Kharagpur will have to play an important role through innovation and technology. They will have to make revolutionary efforts to develop technology and implement it.”
Commending IIT Kharagpur for aligning with the government’s policy of internationalization and global collaboration, President Murmu highlighted the institute’s efforts to form alliances with other global institutions. She expressed optimism that such collaborations would elevate not only IIT Kharagpur but also contribute to giving global recognition to the Indian education system.
President Murmu stressed the importance of technology in promoting social justice and equality, asserting, “We believe that everyone should have the right to technology. The use of technology must be for promoting social justice and equality, rather than increasing disparities in society.”
She cited the example of digital payment systems, illustrating how technology has simplified life and benefited small traders. Recognizing the global reputation of IITs, President Murmu highlighted their role as talent and technology incubation centers.
“We look forward to finding solutions to the challenges facing the world in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. In this Amrit Kaal of India, the golden age will come only by churning through technology,” she said.
“Computerisation, solar energy, genomics and large language models are some of the experiments that have the potential to bring revolutionary changes in social life. Diseases that seemed incurable 150 years ago are now treated almost free of cost. People’s standard of living is getting better. The role of technology is important in making this world better and inclusive,” Murmu added.
Director VK Tewari shared a bold vision for the future, stating, “By 2030, IIT Kharagpur will be among the top 10 higher educational institutions in the world.” He also mentioned that over 3,200 students were awarded degrees during the convocation.
The institute conferred honorary degrees to notable figures, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai (in absentia), Sanskrit scholar Mahamahopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami, electrical engineering entrepreneur Ravinder Nath Khanna, and entrepreneur Ajit Jain. The Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Prof Ramchandra Prabhakar Gokam.
President Murmu concluded by urging all to develop a growth-oriented, futuristic, and curious mindset, emphasizing the role of technology in addressing global challenges and fostering inclusivity. She encouraged more women to pursue science and technology education.
Murmu said, “More women should come forward to study science and technology.”