"I am delighted to be amidst some of the brightest and best minds and young INK Fellows.
I am happy to learn that INK was born with a novel mission to bring some of the inspiring stories to light.
These kinds of conferences are essential to challenge the status quo and come out with innovative ideas.
Dialogue and debate, introspection and reflection, reading and assimilation are essential elements of a knowledge society.
Our generation grew up with limited resources and limited connectivity but we kept our eyes and ears open. We collected and collated information, we analyzed and synthesized data. That’s the way we made progress.
However, the advancement in science and technology, in the fields of communication and media, the all pervasive internet has increased the speed of communication exponentially.
The world has shrunk as the knowledge has expanded.
The impact of technology has been extraordinary.
We must leverage this vast power for improving the quality of life.
We in India have a vast, educated youth population whose creative energies and innovative thinking have to be fully tapped by promoting the culture of innovation and creating an ecosystem that fosters it.
When the world was worried about the Y2K problem, our engineering talent stepped in to assist industries across the globe. Our computer scientists have been at the forefront of the knowledge revolution and are occupying key positions across the globe.
Dear sisters and brothers,
Despite significant improvements in growth rate of our country, issues such as poverty, unemployment, economic and social inequalities are continuing to challenge us.
I want to focus on what is important for India in the coming years – our people. What are we doing to let them reach their best potential? It is estimated that India’s youth population will be a third (34.33%) of world youth population by 2020.
It is extremely important for us to find ways to inspire our youth, listen to their ideas and provide ways to accelerate their journey of innovation. And to do that, we need to provide proper support from high school to college to careers beyond.
We need to rethink education. We have to bring back the sense of wonder, the joy of discovery. This is the foundation for innovation.
We need to bring back experiential learning. I have been also advocating that children must spend 50 per cent of their school time in class-rooms and the remaining time must be earmarked for sports and co-curricular activities.
I am glad to note that the government has been focusing on fostering a culture of innovation under Atal Innovation Mission. You will be happy to know that Atal Tinkering Labs are being set up in schools and Atal Incubation Centres in colleges across the country. I am also happy that many leading global companies and other organizations are partnering with the government to take forward this mission for creation of an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The government has also launched schemes like ‘Make In India’, which seek to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub. Obsolete frameworks of the past are being replaced with a transparent system that is helping drive investment, foster innovation, protect Intellectual Property (IP) and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure.
The ‘Skill India’ campaign aims to train over 400 million people in India in different skills by 2022, while Startup India has been instrumental in increasing patent applications by Indian startups from 61 to 909 during just one year - 2016 to 2017.
Sisters and Brothers,
Each of you here has a distinct talent, different point of view and all of you are choosing to be here with a single purpose. That purpose is getting new ideas and sharing your vision of a world you want to unravel.
This quest for excellence, for a better tomorrow, for a happy, harmonious world has been the driving force behind human progress over the centuries. What is new today is the fascinatingly large number of unprecedented opportunities as compared to earlier years. We are in an era of creative disruptions and out of the box thinking.
The central question that innovators like you are asking is “How can tomorrow be better than today”?
In this world, we need to not to just keep up with technologies but invent new technologies. Big data, Internet of Things, Robotics, Artificial intelligence, bit coins and block chains – terms that were not in our lexicon just four to five years ago, roll off our tongue easily today.
Of course, this is giving rise to other issues we may have to deal with – like cyber security, privacy and ethics. And for technology to be truly meaningful, we need to balance the technical capabilities with humanity and the wellbeing of our planet.
I am happy that today’s conference brings together outstanding young women and men.
Be it someone like Mr. Sunny Singh, who is returning to India after making his wealth elsewhere with a mission of wellbeing that embraces ancient practices with modern technology, or Ms. Anjali Gopalan or Sister Jesme, who are torch bearers for an inclusive India, or Mr. Ravi Reddy and Paresh Ghelani who are dedicated to address the water problem with grass-roots support as well as cutting edge technology, or Mr. Sanjay Podder who is championing Tech for Good, or the 22 INK Fellows who are out-of-the-box thinkers.
You are all essential catalysts driving innovations to harness the power of technology to transform human lives.
As Ms. Lakshmi Pratury, the curator of this gathering said, you are all “billionaires of moments” – pursuing magical moments that will change the planet for the better.
We have a unique opportunity to leap frog and move into the modern world with new unheard of technologies. This is the time for us to make waves while ensuring environmental sustainability and keeping the planet green. This is the moment that celebrates the power of human ingenuity.
I congratulate INK for creating a gathering like this to tell inspiring stories of innovators and then connecting them to one another for a collective acceleration of the journeys of change.
I am sure that Ms. Lathika Pai (Microsoft Ventures), Mr. Hari Menon (Big Basket) and Mr. Girish Matribhootam (Fresh Desk) will discuss their entrepreneurial journeys in modern India. I am also glad that INK is implementing programs like INK Makers, urging students to be part of the maker culture.
We need more makers, shakers and movers in our world. The bottom-line of the balance sheet of development is human well being and inclusive growth.
This is what, from time immemorial, India believed in. The concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” as well as an attitude of welcoming noble thoughts from all over the world has made us receptive and inclusive.
The explosion in technological prowess offers us great opportunities to accelerate our progress towards sustainable and inclusive growth. To tap into these opportunities, we need competence and capabilities but we also need the heart to respond to emerging global challenges.
No matter what your country of origin or choice of discipline may be, there is only one thing that is needed to be here – your passion and commitment to make a difference.
I urge each one of you to continue your passionate journey towards excellence and innovation, towards transformation of our country and the world as well as the lives of all people.
Have a wonderful conference.
JAI HIND! "