Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President, virtually at the online ARIIA-2020 (Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements) Awards Ceremony from New Delhi on 18 August 2020.

New Delhi | August 20, 2020

At the outset let me congratulate the Minister, MHRD Innovation Cell & AICTE for starting ARIIA ranking since last year & for conducting the entire exercise despite the massive disruption in our normal functioning this year.
I am also aware of two special hackathons conducted during this lockdown period in online mode – Ideathon and Samadhan.
Dear sisters and brothers,
During the last five years, India has made considerable progress in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. At world level, we have moved up from 81st position in 2015 to 52nd position in 2019 in Global Innovation Index ranking.
It is indeed a matter of great satisfaction that we have the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world today.
It is heartening to see that the government has taken a number of initiatives to inculcate the spirit of innovation among students from a young age. Over 2 million students between grade 6th to 12th are working in more than 5100 Atal Tinkering Labs established across the country under the Atal Innovation Mission.
Innovation has always been the key defining feature of human progress.
Inventions, discoveries, creative art works, architectural marvels and experimentation in different fields of human endeavour have enriched human lives.
India has its own illustrious history of innovations spanning at least twenty centuries right from the invention of “zero”and the decimal system by renowned mathematicians like Pingala, Aryabhata and Brahmagupta.
There was a time when India was known as Vishwa Guru and students from far away countries came to study at our universities. Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramshila and Pushpagiri were some of the great centres of learning.
We must regain that intellectual leadership.
We must once again emerge as a global hub of learning and innovation.
We have to tap into the highly talented youth population which is brimming with new ideas, a passion for experimentation and willingness to forge a new path.
It is these young people studying in many of our colleges and universities who will define what our country’s future will be.
It is these youths that need encouragement, facilitation and recognition. They must be given the guidance and freedom to explore new frontiers.
Our educational institutions, especially institutions of higher education must reinvent themselves to create these essential conditions for innovation to thrive, for creativity to blossom.
I am happy to note that the New National Education Policy has a sharp focus on this aspect and has made a number of recommendations that will foster innovation.
It has outlined a new vision that can vastly improve the quality of teaching and learning as well as research.
Moving away from rote learning, the policy lays great emphasis on comprehension, critical thinking, analysis and the joy of discovering new facets of the world of knowledge.
It seeks to break the silos and connect different disciplines through multi-disciplinary learning.
Establishing this connection between fragments of information and evidence is truly vital for innovation.
It is this ability to question and seek answers that lies at the foundation of innovation. It is the childlike curiosity that can trigger the creative impulse.
Our educational eco-system must constantly nurture this innate spirit of inquiry and innovative problem-solving.
Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements is a major step to recognize excellence in creating this conducive environment for students to innovate.
Dear sisters and brothers,
Ranking institutions through a transparent process on certain key parameters gives a well-deserved recognition to the efforts of the educational leaders who are managing these institutions and the transformational instructional leaders who are teaching students in the classrooms as well as guiding them through the research process.
I appreciate that ‘Innovative Learning Methods & Courses’ is one of the parameters to calculate this Atal Ranking.
It is the classrooms and the laboratories, the projects and the learning experiences that will alter the educational landscape of our country.
It is the dream articulated in the National Education Policy 2020.
The key responsibility to make this dream come true lies with the educators and educational managers.
Dear sisters and brothers,
Difficult times, like the one we are passing through because of the pandemic, can sometimes spur innovation and demonstrate our ability to convert challenges into opportunities. The Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi has rightly given a timely vision of self-reliant India through his call for Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Self-reliance requires us to innovate, to seek implementable solutions for development challenges and create a favourable environment for experimentation.
India’s higher education system can and should play the role of an enabler and force-multiplier to drive Indian innovation and start-up ecosystem.
Greater emphasis is being laid on building a knowledge society through promotion of science, research and excellence. There should be concerted efforts to inculcate the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among our students to make them ‘out of the box’ thinkers, creative problem solvers, entrepreneurs, and job creators rather than job seekers.The youth of the country must be motivated to join the developmental path more aggressively, while our scientists and researchers must come up with innovations and solutions. They must focus on making the lives of the people more comfortable. Science must also be used to make agriculture more productive and create greater wealth for farmers.
I am glad the Ministry of Education has taken a big leap forward with the formulation of a new education policy. This can serve as a robust framework for instilling a new sense of direction and a culture of continuous quality improvement in our institutions of higher learning.
Innovation must become the heartbeat of education. Quest for excellence must become the norm.
On the occasion of the result announcement ceremony of Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA), I congratulate all the institutions which have secured top honours.  I would urge them to maintain the high standards they have already established. I would like all other higher educational institutions also to redouble their efforts to move up in this ranking exercise. India needs a lot more institutions to achieve a high standard to significantly alter the country’s development trajectory.
We need to learn from the best in the world and aim to be better than the best.
I compliment All India Council for Technical Education and Ministry’s Innovation Cell for planning thisinitiative and successfully completing two editions.
I am happy to see that there is a considerable increase in participation of institutions in this 2nd edition as compared to last year.
I hope ARIIA ranking, named after one of India’s illustrious Prime Ministers, will inspire all higher education institutions to be ‘Atal’ or steadfast in their commitment to creating world class institutions. Institutions whose defining feature will be a sustained level of high quality research and ceaseless innovation. 
My best wishes to all of you.
Thank you.
Jai Hind!