January 3, 2024
NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Tuesday that it is the best time to be young in India as the country’s domestic achievements and international interventions have opened numerous opportunities for them to grow and take the country to new heights.
The prime minister was addressing the 38th Convocation ceremony of the Bharathidasan University in Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. This was his first public interaction in 2024.
Modi said in the last 10 years, the number of airports in the country has doubled from 74 to nearly 150! The cargo handling capacity of major ports in India has doubled since 2014. The speed of road and highway construction in the country too has almost doubled during the same period.
He said the number of registered start-ups in the country has grown to almost one lakh, a big leap from less than 100 in 2014. India has sealed trade deals with important economies which will open up new markets for Indian goods and services.
These achievements will also create countless new opportunities for Indian youth, Mr Modi said. Whether it is strengthening institutions like the G20, fighting climate change, or playing a bigger role in the global supply chain, India is being welcomed as a part of every global solution.
“In many ways, due to the local and global factors, this is the best time to be a young Indian. Make the most of this time and take our country to new heights,” he added.
The prime minister said “I am confident in the ability of young people to make the years till 2047 the most important in our history.” Indian youth are already creating such a world. Young scientists helped India ship vaccines to the world during Covid-19.
Enumerating India’s scientific achievements, he said Indian science is on the world map through missions like Chandrayaan, and the number of patents has gone up from around 4,000 in 2014 to almost 50,000 now.
The humanities scholars are showcasing the India story to the world like never before, he said, while musicians and artistes are bringing international awards to the country. The sports arena saw the athletes winning a record number of medals in the Asian Games, Asian Para Games and other tournaments.
“You are stepping into the world at a time when everyone is looking at you with new hope in every sector,” Mr Modi told the university graduates.
Universities play a crucial role in giving direction to any nation, he said. “When our universities were vibrant, our nation and civilisation were vibrant too. When our nation was attacked, our knowledge systems were targeted immediately,” he said.
In the early part of the 20th century, people like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Sir Annamalai Chettiar started universities. These were hubs of knowledge and nationalism during the freedom struggle, he said.
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the prime minister said, believed that “the highest education does not give us just information. But it helps us to live in harmony with all existence”.
The whole of society, including the poorest of the poor, therefore, played a role in bringing the graduates to this important day, he said. The real purpose of education will be then giving back to them, and creating a better society and country.
“The science you learnt can help a farmer in your village. The technology you learnt can help solve complex problems. The business management you learnt can help run businesses and ensure income growth for others,” he said.
Similarly, economics can help work on reducing poverty and languages and history can help work on strengthening culture. “In a way, every graduate here can help contribute to creating a developed India by 2047,” Mr Modi said.