Vice President of India presents the AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards and AICTE-SAGY Initiative awards

New Delhi: ‘Development of rural areas should not erode their unique identities but must fortify their spirits. The facilities in villages must resemble those of a city but the soul and the values of Indian villages, must be preserved’, the Vice President of India Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu said today. He was addressing the gathering at the presentation ceremony of AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards and AICTE- SAGY Initiative awards in New Delhi today.

Shri. Naidu said that the Awards would challenge young students to come up with novel ideas that have great potential to impact life in villages through technological interventions at the grass root level. Expressing his agreement with Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that ‘the future of India lies in its villages’, the Vice President said that development of villages is an essential precondition to development of the nation.

The Vice President said that educational institutions must re-orient their curricula to ensure that students spend time in rural areas, interacting with people and understanding their problems.

The Vice President opined that by steering itself towards eco friendly industrialisation, sustainable urbanisation, and inclusion of the rural economy, India has the potential to not only become the world’s fastest growing economy, but also to serve as an inspiration, a model to the world

Expressing disappointment that our vision for development is still largely urban centric, Shri. Naidu lamented that rural India still lagged behind urban India in terms of crucial development indicators.

Highlighting the importance of redeeming our agriculture sector which is still the main stay of rural economy, the Vice President said that we have to constantly innovate and reinvent our agricultural practices to make farming much more rewarding, profitable and sustainable.

Shri. Naidu said that ‘One size fits all’ approach will not ensure development in a vast and diverse country like India. ‘Every village has its own individuality, its own industries & its own developmental needs. Our plans should capture aspirations of the people, leverage their strengths & mitigate their weaknesses’, he reasoned.

Expressing his firm conviction that development and environmental conservation are not mutually exclusive goals but are complimentary, the Vice President urged young technocrats to consider the environmental cost of their innovations on a priority basis while calculating feasibility. ‘We can no longer afford to neglect our ecological footprint’, he warned.

Expressing his anguish at the dual challenges of malnutrition and hidden hunger on one hand and obesity and lifestyle diseases on the other, that India faces today, Shri. Naidu urged young people to maintain a balanced diet and lead a healthy life style. ‘Only a healthy nation can be a wealthy nation’, he added.

Calling for balanced development, the Vice President said that our approach to development must have a dual focus, it must be comprehensive and must keep both urban and rural realities in view. He added that our urban spaces were becoming increasingly congested and suggested that distress migration could be prevented by providing livelihood, connectivity, health services, infrastructure and avenues for recreation in rural areas.

The Vice President said that 3 ‘D’s – Demography, Demand and Democracy are making the India of today outshine other countries in the world and added that he had full faith in the vision and capabilities of India’s youth who make up 65% of the country’s population.

He congratulated the All India Council of Technical Education’s endeavour to catalyse rural development in association with the Engineering Council of India (ECI) and the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE).