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Calling for a fusion of traditional knowledge and modern science for evolving new technologies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22 urged students to focus on local issues while moving towards a bigger canvas.

Speaking at the 22nd Convocation of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, held as a virtual event in which 1,803 students received their degrees, Modi stressed on the role of the youth in transforming the nation.

Tushar Yadav was awarded the Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal for the academic year 2019-20, and Shubham Goel was the winner of the President of India gold medal.

Modi said, “I firmly believe that the future of the nation is what the youth thinks today. Your dreams are going to shape the reality of India. The youth of today have to be future ready.”

Pointing to the contribution of the Northeast region in the lives of the IIT-Guwahati students, he called upon them to explore means to connect their research with the potentials of the region and explore how ‘fusion between traditional knowledge and modern science can lead to new technology’.

He also urged the IIT-Guwahati to use its expertise in helping the state governments of Northeastern region to tackle the various natural and other disasters, which have been having a negative impact on the development prospects of the region and called upon the IIT-Guwahati to form a ‘Centre for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction’ for the region.

Modi said: “The Northeast is full of possibilities. But it has problems of floods, earthquakes, landslides and industrial disasters also, and the governments have to spend their time tackling these.”

He pointed that the ‘high degree of technological support and knowledge’ that the IIT-Guwahati can provide could go a long way in mitigating these, and urged the Institute to set up a Centre for the purpose.

He lauded the role of the IIT-Guwahati during the ongoing pandemic and coming forward with its research to help through the COVID 19 situation by developing various kits and test equipments.

The prime minister stressed that the local issues should always be on focus and only after, it should be expanded to a bigger canvas.

Underlining that Northeast is at the centre of ‘Act East Policy’ and is the ‘gateway to South East Asia’, the prime minister also stressed the role of IIT-Guwahati as an institution in various sectors of development, and especially in the education sector.

He dwelt at length on the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, highlighting that it has been formulated to make India a ‘global education destination’ and encourage inter-disciplinary studies, with more freedom to students to pursue their interests.

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