"It is a pleasure and privilege for me to be with you today at IIM, Shillong. Thank you Shri Shishir Kumar Bajoria, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIM, Shillong and Professor Amitabha De, Director, IIM, Shillong for this opportunity to be in the North East and at IIM, Shillong on this convocation day of the Institute.
My congratulations to the graduates, fellows, medal winners and their families! Earning a Post Graduate Diploma in Management and Fellow in Management from a premier institution like IIM, Shillong is an important milestone in your life. You will be treading a different path from now on. You will be applying the knowledge and skills you had acquired in this hallowed institution in real life situations to face new challenges and solve business problems that the corporate world expects of you.
The education imparted to you over the years, the tough competitions you had faced, your hard work, the long hours of study you had put in and the knowledge acquired –all these had helped you to be what you are today. Apart from your knowledge, analytical abilities and skills, you will need to possess strong character, uncompromising honesty and integrity, compassion, ethical values, patience and a sense of gratitude as you chart new and unexplored frontiers to further your career prospects. These qualities will not only help the Corporate India to flourish but contribute to building Brand India in global forums.
I want to touch upon your future role as a leader for Brand India--as a leader in a fast developing economic power with social and demographic challenges, your behavior must be exemplary through the display of highest moral and ethical standards. People always look up to leaders in different fields and when you assume the role of a leader of Brand India, you should become the trendsetter and a role model for others to emulate. You should make India proud.
This is all the more important in the wake of the recent bank scams in the country. Such scams will tarnish the image of the country. Why have such scams increased over the years? Complete degeneration of values and the absence of fear of law are obviously leading to deviant and crooked behavior among the people. Therefore, it is important to adhere to values of honesty, integrity, truthfulness and adopt the best practices. Corporate ethics should not be violated. Here, I would like you to always remember the seven sins mentioned by Mahatma Gandhi—wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice and politics without principle.
Dear students, there is no finishing line to learning—it is a continuous process, in fact it’s a life-long process. Try to be erudite, but polite; creative but responsive; innovative but evocative. Be humane, inclusive and environmentally-conscious. You should also be socially conscious with a national outlook. Since most of you will be working for various businesses or commercial enterprises, the need to view every important decision or project from ecological and humanitarian angles is as important as it is from an economic angle.
This is all the more important when lands are acquired for new projects displacing people. Development and people’s welfare must go hand-in-hand.
These days, all of us are experiencing the adverse impact of global warming and the resultant climate change. Frequency of extreme weather events is increasing—the message is loud and clear—we should never tinker with nature. We should protect nature and promote culture for a better future. That is my advice to all of you. We have to go back to our roots—traditions, culture and customs so that we can pass on to our future generations a planet of peace, plenty and prosperity.
So what does it mean to each of you as you graduate from IIM, Shillong? I have been told that Late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, belovedly known to you as “Kalam Sir”, while giving lectures here, used to ignite your minds to dream for an India that would not only occupy a prime place in the world but would also to take care of the people living at the bottom of the pyramid.
I believe, this is what is needed. We all should develop an attitude of caring and sharing. Somehow, qualities like gratitude, empathy and concern for fellow human beings seem to be missing in the modern world of materialism and consumerism. In the olden days, we used to have joint family system and as result of living with members of a larger family—grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings, the children used to automatically develop caring and sharing attitude.
Dear students, India is on the rise and there will be opportunities galore for youngsters like you. Just a few days ago, the Asian Development Bank stated that India’s economy will grow at 7.3 per cent this fiscal and expected to grow at 7.6 per cent next year, making India the fastest growing Asian economy. The Chief Economist of ADB was quoted as saying that despite short-term costs, the benefits of reforms such as the recently implemented GST will propel India’s future growth. Robust FDI flows attracted by liberalized regulations and the government steps to improve the ease of doing business will further bolster growth, he had said.
I would also like to remind all of you that about 200 years ago India’s contribution to world GDP was 27 per cent. From 10th to 14th century, India was leading the world economy. Following repeated foreign invasions and the British rule, our economy lost its dominant position and remained in a state of decline for many years. In the field of education too, India was known as ‘Vishwaguru” and people from all over the world used to come and study at ancient centres of learning like Nalanda and Takshashila. Today, India is predominantly young as 65 per cent of people are below the age of 35 years. We need to convert this rich human capital into a ‘demographic dividend’ and make India the knowledge and economic hubs of the world.
I am sure, prestigious institutions like IIMs will give priority to research publications. There is a need for management institutions to step up focus on this aspect, According to the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for the year 2018, India’s overall share in world publications is only about 4 per cent. Of the total 83,09,449 research publications in 2016-17, only 3,36,978 are from India. In the management discipline, the share is just two per cent.
I am told that during your study at IIM, Shillong you have not only learned the various development models and the policy related issues, which are key for the economic growth of a nation in particular and world in general, but that you have also been taught that the development should be sustainable in the long run. There is no “one size fits all” formula and India needs to have an economic model that specifically suits its requirements.
I am sure that you must have also learned the nuances of managing business in a globalised world. Your career will bring you in contact with businesses and peers from across the globe. Your products and services will find global customers. As you interact with the world, show your leadership that represents modern India. You need to take on the challenges and shoulder responsibilities to transform India into a global economic power. Please keep in mind that the quality of product, efficient service and ethical business practices are the hallmark of a positive global brand. Every decision taken by you as a thought leader should bear testimony to these qualities.
India has progressed on multiple fronts in the last few decades. But we are still saddled with many challenges like poverty, illiteracy, social discrimination, atrocities against the weaker sections and women, lack of sanitation, imbalanced development with rural areas lagging far behind their urban counterparts. We need to overcome these challenges and build a prosperous, inclusive new India. We need to progress faster.
I am sure IIM, Shillong must have instilled in you the zeal to work diligently and with passion to create wealth. Change cannot be effected by the government alone. Organizations in both the public and private sectors have to play a key role in making India a strong economic power.
All of you must understand that you are among the privileged few, who got an opportunity to study in one of the premier management Institutes of the country. Equipped with new management skills, knowledge and ideas, you can become entrepreneurs and create jobs instead of seeking jobs.
Never forget that you will not only impact the lives of people in your organizations but also the lives of many others, who depend on the livelihood of your direct employees. Livelihood opportunities, especially for the bottom of the pyramid, are going to be more and more competitive, if not scarce. You have to be courageous to take actions that not only create jobs but also help in preserving jobs.
Let me remind you of the invaluable contributions made by your parents, near and dear ones, teachers and your alma mater IIM, Shillong for what you are today. Let me also stress upon the importance of managing work-life balance and equanimity of mind. This can be achieved by doing yoga on a regular basis. Yoga has nothing to do with religion.
Finally remember that education is not only for employment, but also for enlightenment and empowerment.
Congratulations once again and best of luck in all your future endeavors!