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Skill pool expansion a must

- President Pranab Mukherjee lauds ISM collaborations

Dhanbad, May 10: President Pranab Mukherjee today called upon Indian School of Mines (ISM) to develop technologies to increase efficiency of resource extraction while lauding the Dhanbad mining cradle’s collaborative initiatives with several foreign institutes of higher education.

Addressing the 36th annual convocation of ISM held at a specially erected 18,000sq metre air-conditioned pandal on campus, Mukherjee called upon institutes of higher learning to take up research issues relevant to their social and economic context.

“ISM is located in a region rich in scarce mineral resources. This institute should concentrate on developing technologies that increase the efficiency of resource extraction,” he said.

The ceremony began around 3.15pm with the traditional procession of academics led by students and dignitaries, including Governor Syed Ahmed, chief minister Hemant Soren, HRD minister Geetashree Oraon and the President.

In his speech, Mukherjee spoke about the need to enhance the quality of graduates to step up their employment potential.

Referring to the Indian Skills Report, 2014, Mukherjee said, “Only 52 per cent of engineering graduates and 34 per cent of our overall skill pool are employable. This situation must change. We must make a determined effort to enhance the quality of our graduates.”

He said although none of the Indian institutions figured in the list of top 200 universities in the world, a good beginning had been made. “In the World University Ranking done subject-wise by the rating agency QS, Madras and Bombay IITs are among the top 50 institutions in civil engineering, while Delhi and Bombay IITs are in the top 50 in electrical engineering,” he said, adding that with this small step India, was moving in the right direction.

As chief guest, the President later presented degrees to 10 select students from various ISM departments, including mining, mechanical, electronics and environmental engineering.

Sanchit Agarwal, who got a gold medal for topping a five-year integrated MTech course in maths and computing and earned himself the title of best student, was ecstatic.

“I worked very hard during my stay in ISM. But I never knew that my hard work would get paid this way and I would receive my degree from the President,” said the 22-year-old from Uttar Pradesh.

Chief minister Hemant made good use of the occasion to highlight the issue of according IIT status to ISM. He said while IIT BHU (Banaras Hindu University) and Roorkee University had been given the status, ISM was still being deprived of the honour.

“I urge the President to provide his blessings for IIT status for ISM,” he said.

Prateek Kumar Lahiri, the chairman of ISM executive board and general council, spoke of infrastructural upgrades and requested the chief minister and the governor to facilitate transfer of an additional 175 acres for ISM’s expansion.

Director D.C. Panigrahi presented a report on the new programmes launched by ISM in 2013-14, including a BTech course in electronics and instrumentation, and unveiled plans of BTech course in engineering physics from 2014-15.

Later, chairman Lahiri honoured director Panigrahi for maximum resource generation and Gurdeep Singh of the department of environmental science and engineering for guiding maximum research scholars.