“I am delighted to be here today with all of you at this picturesque campus spread over 402 acres with state-of-the-art infrastructure, located on Taleigao Plateau overlooking Zuari estuary in Panjim for the 32nd Annual Convocation Ceremony of the Goa University.
Let me begin by appreciating Goa University for steadily expanding its reach, both in terms of the number of affiliated colleges, as well as in terms of the diversity of courses offered,. I am told that the University, on its campus, has 1 Centre, 20 Departments and 3 schools.
I am glad to learn that 12 colleges in the University have alsobeen recognized as research centres that offer Ph.D. programmes.
I am also very happy to learn that out of 30,000 students enrolled in the University, 60% are women. I have always maintained that no nation can progress until its women are educated and given opportunities on par with that of men.
Goa is located in an ecologically sensitive region along the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea.
I am happy that Goa University has appropriately emerged as an important resource centre for research in the field of flora and fauna endemic to this region, as well as the marine environment.
I am told that, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, in recognition of Goa University’s significant contribution in this domain, has established a Centre of Excellence in Marine Microbiology at the University.
I am glad to learn that in addition to the conventional graduate and postgraduate programmes, Goa University has also taken initiatives to visualize and implement some truly innovative programmes like the National Resource Centre in Marine Science for the professional development of higher education using the MOOCs platform SWAYAM, the State Resource Centre for Women, the Study India Programme with Nihon University of Japan, etc.
The Visiting Research Professors Programme started during 2013-14 to bring luminaries in the field of liberal arts & literature, social and natural sciences, and other fields is also a laudable initiative. Interactions with visiting professors would surelyadd to the diversity of this University and generate a creative environment with their intellectual and aesthetic endeavours.
I am happy to know that the University that is accredited to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in India with A Grade has also been placed at the 93rd position in the ranking of Indian Universities by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
What is even more impressive is that in the QS World University Rankings for 'BRICS countries 2019', that ranks 9000 Universities in BRICS Nations, Goa University has been placed in the first 250. However, you must strive to find place in the first hundred.
A convocation is not a mere ceremonial occasion, but a milestone marking the beginning of a new chapter in your life - a new chapter full of hopes, dreams and expectations of a bright and fulfilling career and life ahead.
So let me extend my heartiest congratulations to each and every one of the graduating students, to those devoted teachers who painstakingly nurtured these bright young minds, to those parents who made many sacrifices to provide the best to their children, the family and friends of these students who supported them through thick and thin and finally this institution for instilling in these children the confidence to conquer all odds in life.
This is a moment of great pride for all of you.
My best wishes to you for your future endeavors!
My dear students,
While today is the culmination of the years of hard work you had put in as a student, do not for a moment think that this is the end of your education.
Learning is a life-long process and every experience, good or bad, teaches you something new.
However, what is important is to set new goals and targets and remain committed to achieving them.
The strength of your commitment to excellence will determine the future of this great nation.
As you are all aware, with the GDP of $2.9 Trillion, India is now the fifth largest economy of the world.
It is expected to grow at 6 per cent to 6.5 per cent in the next financial year.
Fundamentals of the economy are strong and that has ensured macroeconomic stability.
During 2014-19, our government brought in a paradigm shift in governance. This shift was characterised by a twin focus: fundamental structural reform and inclusive growth.
From Goods and Service Tax to Direct Benefit Transfer, from Digital Governance to Ayushman Bharat, we have managed to implement several programs to successfully strike a balance between these two aspects.
Last month, we celebrated the 70st Republic Day. Our constitution continues to be our guiding light and our moral compass, our democracy is stable and our polity is as vibrant and as robust as ever.
Guided by the motto of “SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas, SabkaVishwas”, our government has scaled up the implementation of schemes and programmes that directly benefitted the poor and the disadvantaged.
As per Budget 2020, India was able to raise 271 million people out of poverty, between 2006-16.
But much more needs to be done.
I am also happy that in recent times people are talking about the importance of the Constitution. It indeed is a positive sign and every citizen must follow the Constitution in letter and spirit. Also, everyone should follow constitutional methods to achieve his/ her goals. We should not only be concerned about fundamental rights but also about duties. Rights and responsibilities must go together.
The need of the hour is to channelize the energies of the youth in constructive, nation-building activities. My advice to youth is to shun negativism and not to encourage violence. There is no place for violence in a democracy. Be constructive and not obstructive or disruptive. Develop a positive outlook. Join the forces of growth as India is passing through a critical phase.
Let me place a few challenges before these bright young minds of the nation.
We have to both create wealth and ensure its equitable distribution.
We have to ensure that every single child goes to school.
We have to empower each and every citizen of the nation with education and skills and create opportunities for them to realize their true potential.
We have to create good living conditions and provide affordable, quality healthcare and housing to all.
We have to tackle the formidable challenges of hunger and malnutrition and at the same time, strive to control the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases in the nation.
Climate change and global warming are two of the biggest challenges the world is facing today and all nations have to step up their efforts to protect the environment and reduce carbon footprint.
We need to ensure that man does not tamper with nature but learns to co-exist in harmony with nature for a greener, life-enhancing future.
Illiteracy, diseases, challenges in farm sector and social evils like atrocities on women and weaker sections, child labour, terrorism, communalism and corruption have to be eradicated to build a New and Resurgent India.
It is true that these challenges have to be combated in a concerted manner by all conscientious citizens but I expect the youth of the country to be in the forefront of this noble mission. This is the time for all sections, particularly the youth to be at the forefront of making India stronger on all fronts. Please remember that discipline, honesty and total commitment to hard work are essential prerequisites for success in any field, including public life. Always select and elect leaders on the basis of 4 Cs—Good Conduct, Character, Capacity and Calibre and not on the basis of other 4Cs--Caste, Community, Cash and Criminality.
Perhaps, it will be apt to recall the words of Swami Vivekananda, who had said: “My hope of the future lies in the youths of character, intelligent, renouncing all for the services of others, and obedient – good to themselves and the country at large”.
I urge all the engineers and students of Science to take a closer look at the collective needs of the populace and come up with innovative, cost-effective solutions, especially in areas such as healthcare and education.
Young engineers like you need to play a play catalytic role in accelerating the wheels of progress. In the present era of globalization, you not only have to be tech-savvy, but highly motivated, competent, innovative and push the boundaries of performance.
I urge the students of Social Science and Humanities to closely analyze and understand in great detail, the social evils that we face, such as casteism and gender discrimination and find ways and means to eradicate them from the psyche of the society. Behavioural change is key, whether it be Swachh Bharat or protection of the girl child.
I urge the students of arts to strive to promote our rich culture and myriad art forms. Our composite culture and rich heritage is what makes us unique. Therefore they must form an integral part of our development agenda for the future.
More importantly, let me stress that working in silos; independent of each other will not yield the desired results.
You must work as a team, complementing and fortifying each other’s initiatives, each one doing their best, inculcating much needed synergy in your efforts.
My dear young students,
As you embark on a new and exciting journey, never look for short-cuts or quick fixes to scale new heights.
Perseverance, honesty, empathy, patience and self-belief will enable you to realize your dreams.
Nothing is impossible to achieve but the path you choose has be a righteous one. Never yield to temptations for short term or selfish gains. Always remain committed to highest moral and ethical values.
You are on the threshold of a new life. As you step out into the bigger world, take an oath to work for the good of the society and the country. Education is not only for employment. It is meant to empower, enlighten, widen the perspective of the students and develop them into global citizens.
At the same time, you have to remember one important aspect-- the Indian value system is based on the principles of universalism, peace and prosperity for all, or you may say, “VasudhaivaKutumbakam” - the whole world is one family.
The life beyond this institution is vast and complex. Wherever you go, please do not forget your obligation towards the society and the nation.
I, once again, congratulate all the degree recipients. Today is your day.
The years which you have spent as students in the company of your peers and facilitators, would always be cherished by all of you.
Intertwined with these good memories, you are now embarking on a new journey to explore new vistas.
The road ahead may be rough and tough, but continue with perseverance and passion. I am sure you will make the nation and your alma mater proud.
All the best for a bright and rewarding career!