Yes, Narendra Modi has crossed the boundary of Gujarat and has become a national leader and world’s trailblazer. But when I met youth from three key universities in Gandhinagar, capital of the state of Gujarat, I could not hold my expression that they are “ Youth from Modi’s Gujarat”. Here is why:
I was invited to the Universities in Gujrat for the interaction on what practical contributions that youth can make to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by hands-on work in the respective campuses. The interactions were NOT on what are the SDGs, and what is the global status of the progress on SDGs. Nor were they on change in curriculum needed for creating awareness on SDGs. And definitely NOT about omnipresent glossy words of ‘ value-added education and wholistic knowledge on sustainable development.
It was on what youth can simply start doing in and around the campus to contribute to the attainment of United Nations SDGs, like establishing clean energy, reducing carbon footprint, water conservation, waste reduction, conservation of biodiversity and so on.
The project that would bring them in the global network was proposed to them: Smart Campus Cloud Network-SCCN’ The progress of their work is intended to be shared through a digital cloud dashboard. The measurement of the resource and energy efficiency is to be monitored by the Internet of Things. The research and development of modern technologies are to be aided by Artificial Intelligence.
It was about ‘ learning by doing’, ‘succeeding by sharing’ and ‘ improving by competing.’ Here are the glimpses of the Universities -all established when PM Modi was Chief Minister of State of Gujarat.
Anand Agricultural University (AAU)
AAU is located in Anand city about agriculture, food processing, veterinary science and animal husbandry and dairy science. The university was ranked 67 among 900 universities in India by the National Institute of Ranking Framework.
I talked to more than 100 students of the College of Agricultural Information Technology established in 2009. The college aims to cater to the upcoming demands of the Agrarian Economy that is set to progress on the fast track with the help of Information and Communication Technology.
Prof Ghodasar of ICT College of AAU organized the interaction. Meeting with Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr. R.V Vyas, resulted in charting the next steps for AAU to become a member of SCCN.
My interaction generated intense interest on projects that bridge the gap between the skills of the technocrat and the farmer community- A vision of PM Modi.
Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU)
PDPU was established in 2007, located not far from Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar near Ahmedabad, in the Knowledge Corridor,
The university is ranked 55th in India (2016) and 1st in Gujarat by the National Institutional Ranking Framework ( NIRF ). Under the leadership of the President of the University Board of Governors, Dr. Mukesh Ambani, India’s most dynamic and richest industrialist the PDPU is no longer just a petroleum University but Energy University responding to the sustainable development imperatives. The university has its own 1-megawatt solar power plant. The Government It is also taken lead in setting up and international Centre of Excellence in Automobile for Sustainable mobility.
My interaction was with students and the faculty on the SDGs and practical projects of Carbon Neutrality that could be initiated.
Prof Anurag Kandya, IIT Alumnus, whom I met during PAN IIT in Toronto some years back, has taken lead to transform the sprawling campus into Smart Campus by becoming a member of SCCN.
Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN)
IITGN is one of the prime institutes of excellence in India with extremely challenging entrance criteria and tests.
The 400-acre campus is already at higher take-off points for becoming Smart Campus as part of SCCN. With solar Parking, water conservation, waste management and smart landscaping the campus would be an example of what the Smart City would look like in the future.
Nearly 300 students interacted on projects like Carbon Neutrality, Zero Waste and water conservation as part of SCCN.
Director Prof Sudhir K Jain was recently conferred with the coveted award of Padmashree by the Government of India detailed his vision and showed a very keen interest in joining SCCN. Prof Achal Mehra, Dr. Falguni Tailor of Centre of Sustainable Development of IITGN, Prof Jaichander Swaminathan, Dr. Manish Kumar would take lead in forming the core team in IITGN for SCCN.
It was a pleasure as always to interact with like-minded IIT students of the 21st century.