Patna: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday underscored the need for greater participation of women in the fields of science and technology.
Addressing the eighth convocation ceremony of National Institute of Technology, Patna, he lauded “the overall academic performance by girls” but expressed concern over “a different trend that is visible in institutes devoted to the study of science and technology.”
“Eight medals have been given to meritorious students at this function. Among the recipients, there is only one girl. Besides, out of 733 students who are being awarded their degrees, only 96 that is a mere 13 per cent comprise girls,” Kovind lamented.
“Similar is the situation in most other technical institutions. And this must improve. It is essential to have greater participation of women in centres of excellence in science and technology,” Kovind asserted.
Citing the example of "Missile Woman" Tessy Thomas, who was the Project Director for "Agni IV" missile, the president remarked “we need many more such women leaders in the field of technology.”
Recalling the "notable achievements" of Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University in Samastipur district, where he had visited earlier in the day to take part in the first convocation ceremony, Kovind also urged NIT Patna students "to work in collaboration with agriculture scientists and help farmers by coming up with low-cost innovations".
Expressing satisfaction over India having improved its rankings in the World Bank's report on ease of doing business, the president also exhorted the young men and women to "take full advantage of schemes like Make in India, Startup India and the Mudra Yojana".
Fondly recalling his stint as the Bihar Governor, Kovind said the state was known as a centre of learning in the ancient times and continues to be so even now.
Showering praises on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his "valuable contributions in his present capacity and, earlier, as a central minister" the President said "I was delighted to learn that he was an alumnus of this institute".
In his speech, Kumar highlighted the steps being taken by his government to promote higher education in the state.
Governor Lalji Tandon spoke of "65 per cent of our population being young" and remarked "we are on our way to create a new India by making rapid progress in science".