Address by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President at the 6th Convocation Ceremony of IIM Bodh Gaya in Bihar on April 7, 2024.

Bihar | April 7, 2024

Good afternoon, all of you!

In the last few weeks, I have had the good fortune of visiting institutes headed by women: Gujarat University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and this place. My belief that women are more powerful than men is getting strengthened every day.Women directors are tougher than man directors. You will remember them during the course and afterwards for two different reasons: during the course, their being very harsh. After you graduate, you will be remembering them very pleasantly; they strengthen you to that extent, temper you like steel.

The event marks a significant milestone for IIM-Bodh Gaya as it is the first convocation ceremony at the recently inaugurated campus of the Institute defining changing profile of development and growth of this country.

Chairperson Udai Kotak, a luminary in Indian banking, bears unimpeachable credentials to be in this position. He draws respect both for his depth of knowledge, intellectual integrity and ever readiness to stand for the cause of the nation.

I firmly believe that education is the most impactful, transformative mechanism of societal change that realises equality and dispenses inequities. You all are fortunate beneficiaries of quality education.

Guest of Honour Shri Amitabh Kant, an IAS officer, a Chevening Scholar is an outstanding achiever. He is deeply involved with evolution and execution of public policies in his several capacities including as CEO Niti Ayog- our own think tank. His books 'Branding India-An Incredible Story,' and 'The Elephant Moves: are in a sense reflection of his contributions.

His prestigious positioning as G20 Sherpa of India during its Presidency year would ever be acknowledged as exemplary performance. The passage was mined by fault lines and at end of the day all went well. Among other aspects G20 enhanced our soft diplomacy powers and prowess.

Friends! Your institute is in perfect setting. Bodh Gaya, a site of spiritual importance and the land where the great Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya holds a special place in the collective consciousness of humanity.

As we gather here today, let us draw inspiration from the teachings of Lord Buddha and strive to emulate his message of love and compassion in our lives. The message is more relevant now than ever before.

My congratulations to the graduating students at this 6th convocation.This day marks a significant milestone in your journey. I am so delighted and happy that the track record of this institution is outstanding when it comes to placements. The address of the chairperson indicated the fun foundation has been laid of this institution and it is amongst one of the best in the country.

Friends, the convocation ceremony holds immense significance in the life of every student. It is a moment of pride and accomplishment not only for the graduates but also for their families, teachers, and mentors who have supported and guided them throughout their journey.

This moment marks a stepping stone for your entry into the wider world—a world that is filled with endless possibilities and opportunities.

Friend- Bharat today is no longer a nation with just a potential or a sleeping giant. It is on the rise as never before. The rise of Bharat is unstoppable. All this is to your great advantage. You are fortunate as an enabling governance ecosystem and stable economy fundamentals offering you a platform for unleashing your talent and energy. Perfectsetting for realising your aspirations and dreams.

All of you my friend are very lucky to be part of the marathon march towards the goal of Viksit Bharat@2047! Some of us may not be around, but it will be gratifying for everyone to ensure that by 2047, Bharat will be the pinnacle of the world!

Friends- A convocation address is an occasion for the speaker to impart guidance and sage advice or suggestions before you all step out from the ivory towers of academia to the real world outside.

A decade or so ago such advice or suggestions may been scary or even a nightmare. A speaker in my place a decade ago would have been worried, What to tell you? What are prospects? Because we then had a worrisomely alarming economic environment. There were fragility all around, A despondent atmosphere but now the contemporaneous situation is soothing and inviting. In a sense there is now 360 degree turn as the national mood is upbeat-reflecting hope and possibility.

Each of you present here today is a torchbearer of India's future. When it comes to talent intellect, and knowledge you are one of the best in the world. I encourage you to harness your talents and skills to script new chapters in India’s growth story. And what a remarkable story it is going to be!

Always remember, your hot pursuit for success, accolades, organisational and professional growth as leader should not let you forget the importance of humanity and empathy in business.

Today you will embark on a new voyage. You will venture out into an industry that unlike a decade ago. The scene a decade ago was very different, you would be losing your sleep.With this degree you would not know where to go but now the situation is very different situation is brimming with opportunities for you. The scenario is full of hope and possibility.

My young friends, the national scenario couldn’t be more soothing and inviting. The nation is on the rise and economic trajectory despite global headwinds is continually upwards; national mood is upbeat with our surging global image. You are discerning minds you know what Now means to be Indian outside of India. You know now what's your what it means to the holder of Indian passport, You know more than I do what is the image of our country now and that is something you will relish all your life.

Soon to become the third largest global economy ahead of Germany and Japan, we are already global third in purchasing power. And this status of Bharat is more relevant to you and you know what is the potential of purchasing power and in this country we have this population this rich human resource this youthful components the change has to be exponential and geometric.

Friends - The world is at the cusp of something like another industrial revolution thanks to onslaught of disruptive technologies. These technologies are a challenge. There are opportunities you will be concerned with them in your future workings

By harnessing the seamless integration of these technologies, organisations can stay competitive in the digital era and shape a future where connectivity, trust, and intelligence drive success.

As a matter of fact, reflecting on a few years ago, this was not even a dream. We were not in a position to think about it or imagine it. I know this from experience. I was a Member of Parliament in 1989, and I was a Union Minister then. I had to suffer the pain of witnessing our gold, in solid form, being airlifted to be placed in two banks in Switzerland to sustain our fiscal credibility. Our foreign exchange then was dwindling between 1 billion and 2 billion dollars, and now, see the rise: 6 to 7 billion dollars in a week. It is over 600 billion now.

As young leaders in business, trade, commerce and industry, you will have the opportunity to take charge, harness the opportunities that are beyond the obvious and create impact that has the well-being of the society at heart. Happiness and satisfaction do not come with personal wealth being amassed. The greatest satisfaction comes when you have rewarding experience of serving your motherland Bharat and that I am sure you will be engaged in.

Look at how far we have come as nation. This journey was not easy.

Can you ever imagine 500 million people getting into the banking industry? What could be more inclusive growth than this? Just imagine gas connections in every house, tap water in every house, toilets in every house, and education being available everywhere. Every village has a computer center. You are lucky to have this kind of ecosystem. This allows you full play in joints. You can play with straight bats, realize your ambition, and serve your motherland.

Just a decade ago, our economy was fragile. Five economies, the world institutions, were in a punishing mode for us. They used to advise how we handle our affairs and what are transformations. Just in a decade, we march ahead of Canada, UK, and France to be the 5th largest global economy. I have no doubt that by 2047, we will be at the peak or very close to getting at the peak.

The World Bank, which used to question us earlier, now praises India for achieving its financial inclusion objectives within an impressively short span of six years, a feat that typically requires nearly five decades to accomplish. This is a tribute to our visionary leadership and fast execution. That is why the nation is experiencing not pyramidical growth, but plateau kind of growth; everyone is rising together in togetherness.

Similarly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recognized India as a prime destination for investment and growth opportunities.

India's inclusive Digital Payment system, which facilitates real-time transactions, has garnered attention worldwide and is being adopted by countries like Singapore.

In fact, 46% of the world's total real-time digital transactions now occur in this land. Adaptability accessibility of internet is reflected in the statistics that our per capita internet consumption is more than that of China and USA taken together.

In addition to its digital infrastructure, India has made remarkable strides in developing world-class physical infrastructure, thereby enhancing the quality of life for its vast population of 1.4 billion. Recent notable examples you will know Mandapam—a massive convention center, one of the top 10 in the world. We have Yashobhoomi and a new Parliament building, the kinds of roads, airports, and railway stations we have now were beyond our dreams and contemplation a decade ago. It reflects that India has human resources; the genius of its human resources is unrivaled. It needs visionary leadership, leadership that thinks out of the box, leadership that has the capacity to execute. I know for a fact, being chairman in Rajya Sabha, that despite the pandemic, the new parliament building came in 30 months. It was not just a building; it's complete infrastructure that we could hold our sessions there. The world is amazed and stunned at our progress.

Friends these achievement underscore our capacity to construct such impressive structures with within remarkably short time frame. Let me give you a small illustration Chandrayaan-2 September 2022 it was to land on the moon I was governor state of West Bengal along with my wife, I went to the Science City the landing was little after midnight around 2:00 a.m. if I am not wrong Chandrayaan-2 reached very close within metres but the landing was not 100% success. How can you call it failure will reach there we reached quiet close the Prime Minister came from the behind to encourage the entire team and we had chandrayaan-3 landing on that part of the moon no one has landed so far. International aeronautical society has acknowledged Shiv-Shakti point on moon which mean the governance is so strong that it does not take failure it takes success. This is a message to you and a lesson to you never avoid taking a jump because you think you may fail I don't suggest you take jumps recklessly think about it but fear should not deter you from trying out.

Effective execution of the vision of our leadership would not have been possible without weeding out corruption. There was a time when corruption was visible in every facet of life: a job, a contract, an opportunity—you could not avail without taking recourse to those who were corrupt. Corruption was your password to getting opportunity or relief; the power corridors were infested with corrupt elements who extra-legally leveraged decision-making. A decade ago, we had spectacles to see in the public domain, even ministerial berths, prerogatives of those in executive authority, were considered and decided elsewhere. But now, power corridors have been duly sanitized of corrupt elements.

Across various frontiers of cutting-edge technology, including quantum computing, machine learning, 6G technology, and green hydrogen, India is prominently positioned as a front runner. These new vistas are gold mine opportunities for you all.

Today, as the world is in a state of flux, change is the only constant. The rapid advancements in technology have ushered in a new era, creating a surge in demand for professionals who can harness these developments to drive their organization's business goals forward.

Whether it's artificial intelligence, machine learning, or analytics, the opportunities are limitless for those who are willing to embrace innovation and adapt to change.

In such a scenario of dynamism and volatility, your core values will be your Guide, keeping you anchored ever as you stride ahead! So gear up to bring about the change you believe in. During my time even if I believed in a change I would be in a state of hopelessness because I know I could not bring about it now you can bring it about. Look at the start-ups and unicorns these have emanated from minds like you.

Most of you are poised to carve out your niches in the business world. Remember, friends: ethical leadership and that is part of your oath this is not negotiable if you compromise on ethics then you can't be winner of the kind that the world you salute you will be leaving inside silo because you compromised ethical standards. Temptations will be amazing like taking shortcut people loves to take shortcut even when there is a road available they will say why not take this shortcut. My experience tells me the shortcut is very painful when you lead.

Take a shortcut in law, take a shortcut in revenue matters and you know how people are suffering they are suffering for two reasons - The country has equality before law, rule of law is being in enforced in exemply manners those who thoughts we are beyond reach of law we are immune to law how can legal process reache they took shortcut you know how risky, how expensive, how painful shortcuts are, avoid them

I urge all of you to be harbingers, ambassadors in kind of a society where you exemplify scrupulous, meticulous adherence to the rule of law. This should be your guiding North Star. Trust me, sleep is fundamental to good health. When you take shortcuts, when you violate the law, when you deviate from ethical standards, you can never have sound sleep. You will have sleepless nights, and your health will deteriorate.

You are the greatest stakeholders in democracy; you are the future of this country. You have to lead the marathon march, and therefore, I appeal to you, make it a habit.You are all discerning minds; you will always stand for the nation, always put the nation first. We can never compromise on that.

Unfortunately, there are certain categories of people who find it indigestible that India is progressing. Some of them are informed minds, You respect them. Don't respect them just because they have a position of power. I am referring to the economic world. One may be an economic advisor to the Government of India or a Governor of a Bank, but if they tell you our economic growth can't go beyond 5.5%, question them.

You said so, why? You are a knowledgeable man; you are capitalizing on the ignorance of people at large; you are trying to spread pessimism when the air is full of optimism. Just imagine, no regret, we had more than 7.5% growth.You represent the core of progress and innovation. Your path aligns with Bharat's journey towards reaching new milestones!

We must ever be good listener so that absorbing and sharing of knowledge is seamless. None is the ultimate repository of wisdom or knowledge. We suffered a system in our country where iconic was according not as parameter that are baffling no longer just look to the Padma awards there was a time when event management patronage was passage to Padma awards.They are now given longer than how you want to deserving people. the situation. You have to go beyond the normal cause if you entertain an Idea that this degree learning comes to an end trust me nothing can be more long conclusion to this learning is lifelong and if you learn lifelong you remain in feet health mental physical is spiritual to serve the nation.

One thing I find and that is very disturbing people don't want to listen other points of you they want to reject others point of view for drop of a hat what can be more painful and challenge to logic and rationality that we don't want to consider other point of view there is no compulsory to agree on other's points of you and trust me my own experience tells more often the note the other points of view is the correct point of view.

If you have attend the seminars you would have some illustrious person addressing the seminar but in interactive session you would find the one whom you don't look who according to you has no identity makes a brilliant point each of you is epicentre of making brilliant point and catalysing the big change.

I am reminded of a cartoon where the boss was with his core team indicating “I am looking for people who have a mind of their own and always think my way”. Make your point know even if it is not accepted there will be a type when someone superior to you will tell you, how I wish I could go by your point of view. You turned out to be wrong,so always go in that direction.

In your future positioning in normal course there would be compulsive interaction with business, trade, commerce and industry. You’ll have access to their structured platforms and associations. Avail the opportunity to serve the nation’s economy.

My suggestion is that there can be significant positive contribution to our foreign exchange reserves, generation of employment opportunities and nurturing of entrepreneurship if we become ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Swadeshi’ is promoted.

In a sense I am persuading you to believe and promote economic nationalism, a facet of nationalism. Just imagine there is a massive drain-out of our foreign exchange because we are important avoidably we are importing toys, curtains, furniture and furnishing. We are mostly important something that are available in this country a look at the damage that we do to fabric of this Nation.On one hand over foreign exchange is drain out on the other hand we are snatching work from the hand of our people they would employee if they were make to these item here and three we are blunting, impeding the growth of entrepreneurship now you are in well position to neutralise it if you make it a mission and passion to promote economic nationalism, inculcate this is spirit take us long way both the three points.

There is another worrisome aspect is the reckless export of raw materials. Some people have natural resources at their disposal. If you go to a port in Goa you will know it iron ore is being exported now the man who controls the natural resource is making money, he says why should I make extra effort. I am making quick buck, I don't have to learn anything but but we are losing is hugely. We must add value to raw material and real time value before the export it.

If we export raw material we are condemning ourselves that we are not in a position to add value to it. Fact is, we are in a position and the moment you engaged in value addition, you will find regarding results for both on the point of foreign exchange, employment and entrepreneurship growth.

My young friends!Always remember no economic gain, how so bountiful it may be can be entertained by compromising our Economic Nationalism be must make it habit and national habit.

This does result in easy and quick buck. Reflect at what cost to the nation. If there had been value addition to raw material within the country, the gain would be enormous in terms of saving foreign exchange and generating opportunities for employment and enterprise.

This is imperative for our nation’s prosperity and sovereignty. Because if our security environment has to be looked at, the conventional days are going. If your economy is powerful, you are strong; your soft diplomacy gets cutting edge because your human resources are active in various fields. The human resources fully unleashing the power and prowess of digital infrastructure and disruptive technologies, and this is a national obligation you are called upon to discharge.

Friends- today you are on the launchpad for a jump in the larger domain - overflowing with opportunities and challenges. There is potential even for run away success and unexpected jolt. You graduating students make discerning choice as to what you seek to do. Today you have the luxury of multiple options, of choosing what kind of work you will do and how you will do it.

Go for the option/choice that emanates from within. For long we suffered in this country the child at birth was given a task “बच्चा घर मे आया है, इंजीनियर बनेगा, आईएएस बनेगा आईपीएस बनेगा डॉक्टर बनेगा” , and the poor child did not know what is happening around fortunately for you the days have changed. If you do not enjoy the job you are doing, if you do not feel you are a productive, contributing member of society, rapid promotion or increasing renown is of no help because from within you can't relish it.If you do not like going to work every day, the fact that you are being chauffeured in a limousine is immaterial because it is not going to make it any more pleasant.

Why force someone who is good at cricket to play chess you are train to make your own choices you are under no compulsion use it with great discretion.

My suggestion to you is to reach out and explore. Try different things. Be unconventional. Think out of the box and assured you should ever be, you will never be out of ideas. There are ample avenues for creation of employment than just being an employee. People in bureaucracy are leaving their job to do unconventional things including selling vegetables, milk serving, serving the society showing way to many others.

There is tendency in the youth, it was during my days is also. We will be happy if we achieve a lot - we want fame and fortune, and as rapidly as possible. In the process we get robotised. Our humane approach gets blunted, our human face disappears. A robot is of no use when a man becomes a robot man use a robot not himself or herself get robotized.

Never fall prey to Shakespearian Hamlet syndrome of “To be, or not to be:” This stance more often than not is a recipe for failure. If you have a brilliant idea get it executed.

Journey of your Chairperson Uday Kotak can be a case study on this point. He made such a choice, and from my perspective a difficult one in the early 1980. Then India was a closed economy and not a shade of economic growth and prosperity we see today almost around. In that challenging and daunting scenario, ignoring a lucrative job option from a Multinational, he decided to start out on his own. Look how he makes us all proud.

While Uday Kotak at that time must have had tough time in deciding, with his heart beating in the chest. Yet he did. You all are fortunate as facilitating governance policies give you greater play in the joints for decision making.

In conclusion, you are embarking on a most exciting journey. In a country that is home to one-sixth of humanity a country whose economy is on the rise. The world out there is fiercely competitive. There are bound to be challenges and air pockets. Be firm on your course. You should have no doubt about its success. You have been tampered by one of the most rigorous programs and obviously are now ready to show your mettle.

Friends- I have full faith in the capabilities and potential as students of IIM Bodh Gaya, the enlightening IIM situated lightly at the centre of enlightenment you can deliver you only have to do.

Remember one of the shoes company has tagline remember that “just do it”

Together, let us work towards a Bharat that is not just developed but also compassionate, and inclusive reflecting our civilisational ethos.

Thank you. Jai Hind!