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‘India has made significant strides in satellite and launcher technology’
Staff Reporter

Dr K Radhakrishnan speaking on the occasion. – UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, June 12 - India has made significant strides in satellite and launcher technology and the country’s space industry is growing in value chain.

This was stated by Dr K Radhakrishnan, Honorary Distinguished Advisor, Department of Space/Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and former chairman of ISRO, while delivering the convocation address during the 21st convocation of IIT Guwahati today.

Speaking about the country’s space endeavour and ISRO, Dr Radhakrishnan, who is also a former chairman of the Space Commission, said that the “hallmark of India” has been the focus to help humankind through Earth-oriented satellites for communication, remote sensing and navigation along with an effective institutional tie-up with all stakeholders.

“Self-reliance has been our obsession, not just an objective. That is evident from our strides in satellite technology and launcher technology. India’s space industry is growing in value chain. Capacity building in academia has been a priority to foster frontline research. Chandrayaan-1 and Mangalyaan were India’s inflection points on convergence of space science, technology, engineering and mathematics for precise navigation for deep space missions. Lunar lander of Chandrayaan-2 will be a landmark soon. Gaganyaan is the next turning point, commencing human spaceflight to the Earth’s orbit,” Dr Radhakrishnan said.

A developing economy should focus on equitable distribution of wealth and improvement in living standards for all its citizens, as well as environmental sustainability, along with economic growth, he added.

Dr Radhakrishnan added that as a nation, India still has a long way to move up in science, technology and innovation, even while being proud of several accomplishments of global standards and high national impact.

“A positive trend is that some of the major Indian industrial houses have begun to invest in their own technology development centres. The national challenge is how well we channelise the inventive power of our demographic dividend in the frontiers of science and inter-disciplinary team efforts on relevant and substantial problems besides inspiring and facilitating them to generate scientific and technical knowledge that would manifest as cost-effective and reliable processes, products and services with utility in the domestic and global market place. Their renewed interest for pursuit and engagement in science is quite discernible as one interacts with them across the length and breadth of the country. So also, we have a sterling political leadership, a renewed industrial urge, an enabling ambience and a will-to-do-it by all stakeholders for a leap forward,” he said.

Stressing that leadership in science and technology can propel India as a nation of pre-eminence in the global economy, Dr Radhakrishnan cited a report by international consultancy firm PWC which states that if the country can achieve an annual growth of nine per cent, then India’s economy will grow to reach a size of USD 10 trillion in the next 20 years.

He said advances in material science, artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, optics and mechatronics lead to seismic shifts in manufacturing technologies. “Convergence of neuroscience and the physical sciences of engineering, information technology and robotics in a creative alliance, is one of the most exciting developments of the recent times... Industry 4.0 or ‘4IR’ are the modern-day jargons emanating from the concept of ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ enunciated in 2015 by renowned German engineer and economist Klaus Schwab of World Economic Forum. In 2018, India was ranked 58th among 140 nations on the Global Competitiveness Index measured in the context of 4IR. On Global Innovation Index brought out by INSEAD Business School and World Intellectual Property Organisation, India stays at 57 amongst 126 nations in the latest report of 2018,” he said.

In his Director’s Report, IIT Guwahati Director Prof Gautam Biswas said the institute is ranked seventh among the engineering institutions and ninth among all the participating universities and institutions in the country in the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s (MHRD) National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) India Rankings 2019. He said IIT Guwahati was ranked second in the Swachh Campus Ranking 2018 of Higher Educational Institutions.

“The total number of PhD students on campus has grown from 1,934 last year to 2,125 this year. The current faculty-PhD students ratio is 1:5.16. The research publication record per faculty is more than four and is among the best in the country,” he said. A total of 1,354 students received their degrees at the convocation.

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