CONVOCATION ADDRESS PATNA UNIVERSITY, PATNA
30-12-2005 : Patna
Capacity Building for Entrepreneurship
I am indeed delighted to participate in the Annual Convocation 2005 of the Patna University. I take this opportunity to congratulate the University students for their academic performance. I greet the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, professors and staff for their contribution in shaping young minds to work for the nation in multiple fields. I am happy to note that this University has contributed substantially in the development of higher education in Bihar over the last nine decades. I understand Patna University has produced a number of brilliant academicians, technocrats, administrators, doctors, social workers of eminence. The Patna University has the distinction of having its alumni important personalities like Mr. Hasan Imam, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and also the present Chief Minister Shri Nitish Kumar. I would like to discuss on the topic Capacity Building for Entrepreneurship.
Core Competence of Bihar
For the nation to develop, all the States have to develop. Bihar has an important role to play in realizing this vision. We have to look ahead with confidence and set our sights high to make Bihar the leading example of resilience, growth, modernity and collective achievement. I am personally optimistic about Bihar?s success in negotiating the path of high growth especially because of the superior quality of human capital that the State is endowed with. This human capital is spread in many parts of the country and contributing in administration, management and agricultural farming. From this we see that the core competence of Bihar in multiple areas is available in Bihar for transformation of the state into a development state. How can Patna University empower the young people of Bihar through its educational system? Capacity building with national development tasks in mind should be the focus of the educational system.
A good educational model is the need of the hour to ensure that the students grow to contribute towards the economic growth of a nation. Can we sow the seeds of capacity building among the students? There will be continuous innovation during the learning process. To realize this, special capacities are required to be built in education system for nurturing the students. The capacities which are required to be built are research and enquiry, creativity and innovation, use of high technology, entrepreneurial and moral leadership.
Research and enquiry: The 21st century is about the management of all the knowledge and information we have generated and the value addition we bring to it. We must give our students the skills with which they find a way through the sea of knowledge that we have created and continue with life long learning. Today, we have the ability, through technology, to really and truly teach ourselves to become the life-long learners. This is required for sustained economic development.
Creativity and innovation: The management of knowledge in the 21st century is beyond the capacity of a single individual. The amount of information that we have around is overwhelming. The management of knowledge therefore must move out of the realm of the individual and shift into the realm of the networked groups. The students must learn how to manage knowledge collectively. When the information is networked the power and utility of the information grows as square as stated by Metcalfe's law. Information that is static does not grow. In the new digital economy information that is circulated creates innovation and contributes to national wealth.
Capacity to use high technology: Every student in our colleges should learn to know how to use the latest technologies for aiding their learning process. Universities should equip themselves with adequate computing equipment, laboratory equipments, and Internet facilities and provide an environment for the students to enhance their learning ability. In the midst of all of the technological innovations and revolutions we cannot think that the role of the teachers will be diminished. In fact the teacher will become even more important and the whole world of education will become teacher assisted and would help in ?tele-porting? the best teacher to every nook and corner of the country and propagate the knowledge.
Entrepreneurship: The aptitude for entrepreneurship should be cultivated right from the beginning and in the university environment. We must teach our students to take calculated risks for the sake of larger gain, but within the ethos of good business. They should also cultivate a disposition to do things right. This capacity will enable them to take up challenging tasks later.
Moral leadership: Moral leadership involves two aspects. First it requires the ability to have compelling and powerful dreams or visions of human betterment. Moral leadership requires a disposition to do the right thing and influence others also to do right things.
In sum, inquiry, creativity, technology, entrepreneurial and moral leadership are the five capacities required to be built through the education process. If we develop in all our students these five capacities, we will produce "Autonomous Learner" a self-directed, self controlled, lifelong learner who will have the capacity to both, respect authority and at the same time is capable of questioning authority, in an appropriate manner. These are the leaders who would work together as a ?Self-organizing Network? and transform any State as a prosperous State. The most important part of the education is to imbibe the confidence among the students is the spirit of ?we can do it?. These capacities will enable the students to meet the challenges of our national mission of transforming the nation into a developed country by 2020.
Any University is judged by the level and extent of the research work it accomplishes. This sets in a regenerative cycle of excellence. Experience of research leads to quality teaching and quality teaching imparted to the young in turn enriches the research. Research brings transformation and development and also enhances the quality of education.
Technology is the non-linear tool available to humanity, which can affect fundamental changes in the ground rules of economic competitiveness. Science is linked to technology through applications. Technology is linked to economy and environment through manufacture of knowledge products. Economy and environment are linked to technology, which promotes prosperity to the society. We have to use innovation to generate high value added products for becoming a global player. The research areas of the Patna University must be linked to the priorities of the state and the nation.
The most important sectors for sustainable national development are Agriculture, Education, Healthcare, Water and Energy. One of the ways by which the rural agriculturists could increase their earnings is by value adding to the agricultural produce by processing and manufacturing. The farmers, either individually or through their co-operatives would market processed and value added items instead of marketing the raw materials. This increase in the value-addition taking place in the rural area itself is an indicator of the society moving towards prosperity and knowledge era.
Dear graduating students, now you will be entering into the real world of opportunities where you can be the employment generators as discussed above through the capacity built in you by the university system. There are five areas relevant to Bihar which I would like to highlight on entrepreneurship and employment.
We have nearly 63 million hectares of wasteland available in the country, out of which 33 million hectares of wasteland have been allotted for tree plantation. Certain multi-purpose bio-fuel plants can grow well in wasteland with very minimum input. Once cultivated, the crop has fifty years of life. Fruiting can take place in these plants in two years.
Bio-fuel plants grown in parts of the waste land, for example, 11 million hectares, can yield a revenue of approximately Rs. 20,000 crore a year and provide employment to over 12 million people both for plantation and running of the extraction plants. It will reduce the foreign exchange outflow paid for importing crude oil, the cost of which is continuously rising in the international market. The Bio-fuel is Carbon neutral and emission free. The oil can also be used for soap and in candle industries. De-oiled cake is a raw material for composting and the plantation is also good for honey production. We should absorb best of the technologies available worldwide and start commercial operation immediately. One time investment needed for bio-fuel plantation to production in 11 million hectares will be approximately Rs. 27000 Crores. The capital equipment and investment in plant and machinery can come from bank loans and private sector entrepreneurs. I have seen the progress in bio-fuel plant cultivation, preparation of seedlings, tissue culture and development of non-toxic hybrid varieties in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. They have also worked from processing of seeds to bio-fuel production by the indigenous design and development of bio-fuel plants. Anand Agriculture University at, Anand (Gujarat) has also made progress in the bio-fuel cultivation and processing in Gujarat. Bio-fuel plants can be grown in a number of states in the southern, western and central part of the country. The Patna University can prepare a plan for Jatropha plantation in the waste land available in various districts and also evolve a scheme for creation of bio-fuel enterprises in the rural areas in Bihar. I would recommend use of chour land in Bihar may be considered for Jatropha plantation. Now I would like to talk about water harvesting.
Water harvesting should become mandatory for all. To improve water table, we need to build check dams, develop water sheds, desilt ponds and rivers, clear the inlets and outlets to the ponds and water bodies and recharge the wells. If our rural areas are made to have the operational water bodies, recharging of the wells will take place. The task is totally labour intensive and nation wide implementation of this scheme will provide employment for six million persons for more than three or four years. The scheme will result in increase in storage capacity of water bodies and create additional irrigation potential of the land in the region and enhance agricultural productivity. This is particularly applicable for Bihar to prevent flooding in certain low lying areas. The next important area is wealth generation through fly ash.
Converting the fly ash as Wealth Generator
As you are aware, the use of coal for power generation results in increased quantum of fly ash production, which has reached about 100 million tonnes per year. All out efforts are needed to utilize this fly ash not only from environmental considerations, but also to avoid land usage for fly ash dumping. Though there has been a steady progress in fly ash utilization from 1990, we have a long way to go to reach the target of 100% fly ash utilization. It is reported that the agricultural increase of grains is around 15%, green vegetables 35% and root vegetables 50%, when fly ash is mixed with the soil. Toxicity tests have proved that there is no toxic element due to fly ash. But it has higher nutrients due to increased availability of iron and calcium. The fly ash can become a wealth generator by making use of it for producing ?green building? materials, road, agriculture etc. Presently, the fly ash utilization is in the range of 33 million tones per year and providing employment for over 50,000 personnel. Full utilization of the fly ash stock, will provide employment potential for three hundred thousand people and result in a business volume of over Rs. 4000 crore. Since a number of thermal power stations are available in Bihar, plenty of unused fly ash is available in the state. The fly ash with certain processing can be utilized by the farmers in the state for improving the soil productivity in addition to its use in cement and green building industry. The next topic I would like to discuss is Textile Industry.
Textile industry is very important for the Indian economy. Garment export business is a low investment and large volume employment generator. India is presently, exporting six billion dollars worth of garments, whereas with the WTO regime in place, we can increase the production and export of garments to 18 to 20 billion dollars within the next five years. This will enable, generation of employment in general and in rural areas in particular. By tripling the export of apparels, we can add more than 5 million direct jobs and 7 million indirect jobs in allied sector, including cultivation of cotton. Concerted effort is needed in Cotton research, technology generation, transfer of technology, modernization and upgrading of ginning and pressing factories and aggressive marketing strategy. I would suggest Bihar to undertake creation of large number of apparel parks in the rural areas in collaboration with garment exporters. This will provide large scale entrepreneurial and employment opportunities to the rural population. This employment, supported by agriculture will increase the earning capacity of the rural people of Bihar. Finally, I would like to discuss about Healthcare.
Another area, which is an employment generator, is the health care industry. We have only one doctor for one thousand eight hundred people, whereas in some of the developed countries the doctor to population ratio is 1: 600. For providing quality health care to all of our citizens, we would need at least doubling the strength of doctors and paramedical staff in the whole country. The investment for this need not necessarily come from government alone. Hospitals can be setup by the private sector with certain tax concessions and subsidized infrastructural support.
Setting up of 30,000 static tele-medicine stations distributed in 30,000 key locations, within the zone of 3 lakh villages and providing 20,000 mobile tele-medicine units will enable reaching of quality healthcare closer to every home, which are connected to the district, state government hospitals, corporate hospitals, super specialty hospitals in the country. This is possible as India has a network of satellite communication.
How to reach healthcare for the large number of our population? An innovative method has come into action in certain states. This system provides free health cover to the citizens who are members and pay Rs. 10 per individual per month as an insurance premium. State and Central Government can sponsor this insurance scheme involving matching contribution of Rs. 10 per individual per month. Such a cover should be able to provide treatment for all types of diseases including expensive open heart surgery to the members of the scheme. A consortium is required to be formed, in Bihar between the Government, corporate hospitals and NGO?s for providing integrated cost effective health care. The scheme when fully operational can provide direct employment for additional 48,000 doctors and one lakh paramedical staff in Bihar. Apart from providing healthcare to citizens, these corporate hospitals can attract large number of medical tourists to the state in view of our competitiveness in treating complex diseases. Bihar can definitely consider setting up of corporate hospitals in the Urban and Rural areas backed up with the Healthcare scheme which I have suggested. Recently, when I was in Kerala I saw a high tech hospital in a village called Parumala where facilities exist for treatment of cardiac diseases, cancer, TB etc. Next topic I would like to cover is small scale enterprises.
Small Scale enterprises
Presently the small scale sector in the country has 12 million units employing around twenty eight million people. Bihar has certain core-competence in the areas of handloom, paper products, madhupani paintings, makhana, sugarcane, and pisciculture. Bihar also produces Guava, mango and leechi. These are fit candidates for agro-processing industry, including intermediate cold storage sites. In some areas stone cutting is a big industry. There is a need to produce value added stones for the export market. In addition competence can also be created in the areas of electrical, mechanical, chemical, computer accessories, computer hardware and Software. The creation of such small scale industries in the region can provide employment for over two million youth of the state.
Develop the spirit: "I can do it"
Dear friends, I talked to you so far about Bihar?s unique core competence in various sectors and the necessity of building capacities among students for undertaking nation building tasks through the university education system. I have found that when the students graduate approximately 10% of the students take up research or some specialization. The remaining 90% graduates are looking for jobs and they have to come out with the spirit ?I can do it?. The education system should inspire the young to achieve this capacity. Graduates with such a prepared mind can definitely be able to take up the leadership of small enterprises with the assistance of venture capital provided by banks. This will enable the nation to have number of employment generators rather than employment seekers. It is important for the new Bihar to make appropriate changes to the university education system which will empower the young people of Bihar to take up an entrepreneurial career.
Conclusion: "Bihar Vision: Developed State by 2015"
It is time that we all realized that crime does not pay; that corruption does not pay. This only fragments the society and the economy becomes directionless. What is needed is a total realization that situation can be retrieved and one could look to a bright future. But then it needs a vision and a collective will that can be put into practice through coordinated, purposeful and positive endeavours. It is time Bihar has a vision, ?Bihar Vision: Developed State by 2015?. We should learn to look into the future, set objectives for the long run and eschew all temporary, shortsighted and parochial tendencies and objectives. The people of Bihar need to rise and be awake and I have no doubt the rest of the nation will join them in such a noble task. This will be possible if the people?s welfare is put as the basic objective. Politically, socially, economically and culturally, a coordinated, streamlined, harmonious vision for the future need to be spelt out and worked for. I would urge all of you to work for such an objective with a vision. In this noble but mammoth task, you the educated younger generation has a crucial role to play and I have no doubt your concerted action will bring back the glory to Bihar in all its sectors that it used to pride itself in.
I congratulate the graduates who are passing out from Patna University today and my best wishes to the members of Patna University for success in their mission of providing quality education to the youth of Bihar.
May God bless you.