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Mastermind of Indian engineering

Remembering the innumerable contributions of the pre-eminent civil engineer M Visvesvaraya to the nation on occasion of Engineer’s Day

Mastermind of Indian engineering
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India celebrates the 159th birth anniversary of the father of Indian engineering, Sir M Visvesvaraya on Sep 15. He was not only an exceptional engineer but also an eminent scholar and a wise statesman. His book 'Planned Economy for India' is one of the masterpieces in the field of economic planning. He was awarded the highest civilian award 'Bharat Ratna' in 1955 for his copious contributions to nation-building.

Societies flourish because of the planners and developers who give missions and visions to them. Engineers are the architects of the nations, the real builders of the socio-economic infrastructures. One of the earliest engineering colleges in India, Thomson College, was established in the same constituency, which I represent in the parliament. We can even see the engineering marvel of Thomson college in the form of the Ganga Canal project while travelling along the Delhi-Dehradun highway. We have come a very long way from Thomson college to our globally renowned IITs.

Engineering holds strategic importance in India's economic development. The Government, through its various initiatives, is committed to providing a platform to enhance the engineering advancements in India further. A few of the critical initiatives are, Make in India, Start-up India, Smart cities mission, and Skill India, which are visionary for job-creation and entrepreneurship through multi-skilled development programs for all socio-economic groups in the largest democracy. In the words of the honourable Prime Minister, India holds 3D's, demography, democracy, and demand, which helps in the growth of business and development of the nation and engineering sectors. In the next 10 years, India is poised to see itself as one of the largest manufacturing destinations in the global economy.

The current pandemic has posed a difficult question to the entire human race. In such a crucial time, engineers have been the unsung heroes of the hour. They have played a central role in nation-building in terms of ideation, improvisation, invention, innovation. While monitoring the YUKTI portal of our ministry regularly, it's gratifying to see the contribution, collaboration, and healthy competition amongst our HEIs to develop solutions for the various problems provoked by the pandemic. Our supply to the high demand of ventilators and PPE kits, automated solutions to disease monitoring, integrating sensor-based applications like Aarogya Setu to assist, detect and prevent the spread of the disease, thermal-monitoring devices using infrared waves, satellite facilitated population density measuring applications to analyze the vulnerability of the outbreaks region-wise, are few of the outstanding offerings of engineers to humanity, during the pandemic. This not only prevented the spread of diseases but also helped in the strengthening of STEM disciplines and knowledge, boosting the domestic industries, ensuring 'Vocal for Local' for Bharat to become 'Atmanirbhar'.

As the Prime Minister says, engineers are synonymous with "diligence and determination", and a nation is genuinely grateful to their invaluable contributions. From the invention of fire to the fourth industrial revolution, engineers have played a pivotal role in the progression of humanity. They have built dams that enable electricity generation, transcended interstellar spaces, made quantum computers, developed bio-engineered capsules for targeted drug delivery, and created wings for the humans to soar high in the skies. Over the years, engineers give new dimensions to the world and parallelly modulate their roles to re-engineer themselves and society.

In today's world, Engineers and Entrepreneurs are synonymous as they dream, research, create, and contribute to producing the most prolific products which enable all-round developments that touch every sphere of life. To nurture these brilliant minds of the nation, the Ministry of Education has come up with outstanding programs, missions, and schemes with time. Supporting the technology, focusing on major SDGs for health and education, water resource management, energy consumption, and conservations, with initiatives like IMPRINT, building digital libraries like National Digital Library, and investing in schemes like UAY to promote problem-specific industrial research and innovations and ensure good manufacturing. Over the years, engineers from around the country have participated in Smart Indian Hackathon (SIH) and have come up with solutions for the most burning problems of our society. To bring international perspective and exposure, we have established synergies through schemes like GIAN and GIAN+.

We are committed to making the engineering education of our country in tune with the future requirements which are based on cohesion of knowledge and skills. The proposed NEP targets to train engineers in a manner that they are sensitive towards local problems while having a global perspective, they will master AI and machine learning and also understand the most significant software codes of human interactions. The policy emphasizes both contents as well as patents; it has options and opportunities which will enable us to reform, transform, and perform.

As we remember the finest civil engineer of all time, the founder of India's engineering infrastructure, Sir M Visvesvaraya on this day, I elate kudos to all the engineers of the nation, who are the pillars of India's sustainability and development. Sir MV is a true motivation for engineers.

His legacy will inspire the generations to come!

The writer is the Union Minister of Education. Views expressed are personal

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