Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the 29th Convocation of Goa University

1.           At the outset, I would like to express my gratitude and deep appreciation for conferring on me the Honorary D. Litt. Degree. I deeply appreciate this gesture shown to me and accept this distinction with all humility.  I take this opportunity to congratulate degree holders and award winners for their hard work and toil over the years. 

2.           Convocation is always an important landmark in the life of students and their parents.  It recognizes their hard work.  Dear students, when you leave the portals of your alma mater, you may feel a little nervous as you would no longer have the support of your guides and friends.  But, you have no reason to be nervous, since I know that the skills you have acquired will help you in facing all troubles and challenges.  I wish you all success.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
3.           Goa University was set up in 1985 in this lush environment, which is conducive to the pursuit of knowledge and research. Over the last three decades, Goa University has grown from strength to strength to make its mark in the national and global landscape. This, it has been able to do so without losing sight of its local ethos, is a notable achievement. To my mind, it is a model worth emulating for any knowledge hub set in a distinctive environment.

4.           Goa has a unique position in India’s unfolding tryst with destiny. It is a shining example of our cultural pluralism and co-existence, and a symbol of a Cosmopolitanism which is essential for a modernizing society. While writing on the objectives of university in a free country Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru once observed and I quote: “A university stands for humanism; for tolerance; for reason; for the adventure of ideas, and for the search of truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race towards ever higher objectives. If the universities discharge their duties adequately, then it is well with the nation and the people” (unquote). I am happy to note that Goa University has imbibed this basic principle and is in consonance with the heritage of our country. In ancient times, India was the leader in education.  Universities like Taxila, Nalanda, Vikramshila etc. attracted mighty minds in the form of students, teachers and researchers.  A university should be a laboratory of various ideas. 

Friends:
5.           It is heartening to know that Goa University has taken unique initiatives to provide a platform for interaction between achievers in different fields like classical music, history, language, political economy, arts, and its students. The Visiting Research Professorship Programme of this university has brought some of India’s brightest minds here during its last four years. It has made the knowledge and wisdom of these experts available to the students as well as members of the public. I wish the programme great success in the years ahead.

6.           I am also happy to learn that women comprise a high percentage of the student population in Goa University. I was also happy to see that girl students outshone the boys when prizes were being distributed.  It is important that young women particularly those belonging to marginal sections gain increased access to the portals of colleges and universities. Women’s empowerment through education will have a positive impact on our future generation. It is rightly said that if we educate a man, we educate an individual but if we educate a women, we educate an entire family. 

Ladies and Gentlemen:
7.           India is presently at a very challenging phase of its socio-economic transition. We are in the midst of global changes that are both complex and unpredictable. Indian expertise and talent has much demand worldwide. The prospects in a liberal economic environment are immense. Yet, to take advantage of the unfolding opportunities in a globalized market, we have to galvanize our demographic strength.

8.           The youthful character of our nation - 600 million people in the age group of 25 years and below – has to become our asset in our surge for advancement. For that, we need to provide sound training to our youth to build capacity for undertaking skilled work. It will help prepare them for challenging job roles in the global economic community. They have to be inculcated with the aptitude to think ahead. For, lot of ideas capable of making an impact transmits faster than ever before today.

9.           Universities, no doubt, have to take the lead in this regard. But this is a task that can hardly be accomplished by the public institutions alone. It will require a new paradigm of partnership between the various stakeholders such as industry, voluntary sector, central and state agencies. All stakeholders have to be involved in these efforts. 

10.       To prepare graduates for a competitive global economy, we have to impart quality education in our institutions. This will call for adoption of global best practices for world-class academic management. Our institutions have to work relentlessly towards excellence.  They have to provide the best of amenities to their academic community. Models of teaching have to be adaptive to the latest trends and also the changing learner profile. There has to be an alliance between the IT-enabled platforms like MOOCs and knowledge networks, and pedagogy. As concepts and understanding evolve, our faculty has to be better prepared with up-dated knowledge. A strong research eco-system has to be built on the plank of institutional collaborations, research parks, and talented researchers. There also have to be close link between Indian universities and industries. 

Dear friends:
11.       Recognizing that no institution can excel in isolation, they have to provide students and faculty international exposure, introduce industry relevant matter in course work, and share academic resources. A mechanism is needed in our higher education system that promotes competitiveness. NIRF is a valuable initiative, and I am sure, with greater and more involved participation, this indicator will provide impetus to our institutions to do better in the coming years.

12.       Our centres of higher learning are social institutions too. They have to carry out their responsibilities as a social entity. A strong connection with the society will provide the edifice for value-oriented learning in them. This will instill in the students a sensitivity that will inspire them to search for solutions to vexed socio-economic problems in the environment in which they are living. The onus is on our institutions to produce men and women of substance and character, not merely competent professionals.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
13.       The first university education commission, headed by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, nearly seven decades ago had made some vital recommendations. Many of them were accepted. University Grant Commission was established. Over the years, many recommendations bore good results. They are relevant even today.
14.       I call upon the academic leadership of Goa University to rededicate themselves to the ideals which the makers of our nation had espoused. The learning environment in our educational institutions should nurture scholarship in the students in a way that the aspirations of their self, family, society, nation and the world are met with a seamless endeavour. It should facilitate the acquisition of greater knowledge and the application of that knowledge in solving the riddles facing our times like environmental degradation, resource conflict and identity crisis.

Friends:
15.       India is uniquely placed to offer its own symbol of peace, democracy and concord to the world. I am confident that the graduates and researchers who will leave the portals of this august institution after obtaining their degrees today will contribute brilliantly to realize the potential of this nation.

16.       I wish you every success and an exciting journey ahead in future. Go ahead.  Whole world is yours.  Be confident and you will able to conquer the world. 
Thank you.
Jai Hind.



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President of India addresses the annual convocation of Goa university

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee graced the Annual Convocation of Goa University today (April 25, 2017) in Goa. The Goa University also conferred the Honorary D. Litt. degree on the President on the occasion. 

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that to prepare graduates for a competitive global economy, we have to impart quality education in our institutions. This will call for adoption of global best practices for world-class academic management. Our institutions have to work relentlessly towards excellence. They have to provide the best of amenities to their academic community. Models of teaching have to be adaptive to the latest trends and also the changing learner profile. There has to be an alliance between the IT-enabled platforms like MOOCs and knowledge networks, and pedagogy. As concepts and understanding evolve, our faculty has to be better prepared with up-dated knowledge. A strong research eco-system has to be built on the plank of institutional collaborations, research parks, and talented researchers. There also have to be close link between Indian universities and industries. 

The President said that recognizing that no institution can excel in isolation, they have to provide students and faculty international exposure, introduce industry relevant matter in course work, and share academic resources. A mechanism is needed in our higher education system that promotes competitiveness. NIRF is a valuable initiative and he was sure that with greater and more involved participation, this indicator will provide impetus to our institutions to do better in the coming years. 

The President said that our centres of higher learning are social institutions too. They have to carry out their responsibilities as a social entity. A strong connection with the society will provide the edifice for value-oriented learning in them. This will instill in the students a sensitivity that will inspire them to search for solutions to vexed socio-economic problems in the environment in which they are living. The onus is on our institutions to produce men and women of substance and character, not merely competent professionals. 



Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Nepal Prime Minister speaks to the Prime Minister on telephone

Prime Minister of Nepal Rt. Hon’ble Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ made a telephone call to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today. 

The two Prime Ministers discussed recent developments in India-Nepal relations, including the recently concluded highly successful State visit of President of Nepal Rt. Hon’ble Bidya Devi Bhandari to India. 

Prime Minister Prachanda spoke about the ongoing efforts of his government to take all stakeholders on board in the constitution implementation process. PM Prachanda also spoke about Nepal holding the first local elections in nearly twenty years and requested for India’s assistance in this connection. 

PM Modi conveyed the good wishes of the people and government of India to the friendly people of Nepal in their national efforts to achieve peace, stability and socio-economic transformation, and assured PM Prachanda that India would extend all possible assistance for local elections. 

The two Prime Ministers reiterated their commitment to advance multi-faceted India-Nepal cooperative ties for the benefit of the two peoples. 



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Shri Singh inaugurates two-day National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2017

The National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign – 2017 is being organised on 25th and 26th April, 2017 at New Delhi.  The Conference was inaugurated by Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and also addressed by Shri Parshottam Rupala and Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.   The Conference was attended by Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, besides Agriculture Production Commissioners / Principal Secretaries / Secretaries / Directors of the State Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture and Agriculture Marketing, Senior Scientists from ICAR and other officials from relevant Ministries and agencies.

In his inaugural address, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare applauded efforts of the Central and State Governments in attaining an estimated record production of about 272 million metric tons in foodgrains and 33.6 million tons oilseeds. Shri Singh particularly referred to the expected quantum jump in pulses production, which is estimated at a record breaking 22.14 million metric tons as per the second Advance Estimates. Shri Radha Mohan Singh pointed out to the encouraging first stage forecast of the South West monsoon during Kharif 2017 and exhorted the States to make all necessary arrangements of agricultural inputs for our farmers.  Shri Singh further stressed on the commitment of the Government to double the income of farmers by the year 2022 and the initiatives taken by the Central Government towards this end.  A roadmap has been prepared to scale up pulses production to 24 MMTs by 2021.  Union Agriculture Minister complimented states that have achieved the target of delivery of soil health cards to all farmers and exhorted the others to complete the first phase by in the next 2-3 months.  Shri Singh pointed out that the second cycle of the Soil Health Card scheme will commence in May 2017.  Shri Singh referred to growing popularity of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and hoped that the States will expand the coverage further this year.  Union Agriculture Minister encouraged States to implement the Paramparagat Krishi Yojana in a mission mode to promote organic farming, particularly in the rainfed and hilly areas.  Shri Singh reiterated the need to introduce marketing reforms in agriculture sector to enable farmers a better price realisation.

In his address, Shri Parshottam Rupala Minister of State for Agriculture highlighted the achievements made under flagship schemes of the Department and made a particular reference to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which was launched from Kharif, 2016.  Under this new scheme, comprehensive risk coverage from pre-sowing to post-harvest losses has been provided.  Minister of State, Shri Rupala exhorted the States to leverage technology in the implementation of the scheme and achieve the targets for insurance coverage of 40% and 50% of the total cropped area/farmers during 2017-18 and 2019-20 respectively.

In his address, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State for Agriculture stated that it was absolutely imperative that all flagship schemes of the Governments are given the highest priority to bring about material improvements in the lives of our farmers.

Union Agriculture SecretaryShri Shobhana K. Pattanayak in his address pointed out the multipronged strategy needed to double farmers’ income by 2022.  He laid particular emphasis on initiatives to reduce cost of production, bridging the yield gaps in productivity and ensuring better price realisation for our farmers. He particularly emphasised the necessity for adoption of technology in this regard.

Eight Groups have been formed for in depth discussion on following topics:
I.          Market reforms – introduction of contract farming, effective role of e-NAM and inter-market trading on e-NAM platform.
II.        Sustainability of pulses production in the coming season.
III        Best Mechanization practices to avoid burning of straw.
IV.       Utilization of Corpus fund under PMKSY.
V.        Doubling of farmers’ income based on paper circulated by Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog.
VI.       Making North-East and the Himalayan States a power houses of horticultural development – Organic Farming.
VII.     Issues related to Horticulture
VIII.    Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)
The Groups will be expected to come up with recommendations on each of the topics in the plenary in the concluding day of the Conference today.


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PFRDA smoothens the Process of Registration of Retirement Advisers; Process of submitting application transformed from Physical Mode to Online Mode.

In order to smoothen the process of registration of Retirement Advisers, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has transformed the process of submitting application from physical mode to online mode. 

The applicants can now submit their application online and upload scanned images of all the required documents. This will reduce the application processing time. PFRDA is registering Retirement Advisers for widening the coverage of NPS by facilitating on boarding of the subscribers and also providing advisory services to them for allocating assets under NPS and choosing Pension Fund Managers. 

“Retirement Adviser” can be any individual, registered partnership firm, body corporate, or any registered trust or society, which desires to engage in the activity of providing advice on National Pension System or other pension schemes regulated by PFRDA to prospects / existing subscribers or other persons or group of persons and is registered as such under the PFRDA (Retirement Advisers) Regulations. 

NISM and FPSB India are providing necessary certification in order to become eligible for registration as Retirement Adviser. However, Investment Advisers registered with SEBI are exempted from the requirement of such certifications and they can directly submit their application to PFRDA for registration.



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Online Statement Of Transaction (e-SOT) and the e-PRAN card launched for Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers; More than 45 lacs subscribers to be benefitted.

With a view to digitally empower the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers and improve the quality of service, the facility of online viewing of the statement of transaction(e-SOT) and also the e-PRAN card have been launched. More than 45 lacs APY subscribers are likely to be benefitted. The APY subscribers can visit the website: www.npscra.nsdl.co.in or www.npstrust.org.in under the Atal Pension Yojana Section to avail these value added facilities.

By providing the APY/PRAN Acct details and Savings Bank Account number details, the APY subscriber can view one's APY Account Statement. Even for the APY subscriber who does not have his APY PRAN number readily available can also avail these facilities by providing one's Date of Birth and Savings Bank Account number details. This online tool enables the Subscribers to view his complete details of APY account like transaction details, pension amount, pension commencement date, nominee name, associated bank name etc. Even though the feature is a self-servicing tool but the service providers can also access the feature on behalf of their customer to improve the quality of customer service. APY Subscribers can print their e PRAN card and get it laminated for their future reference if needed. In case of any changes in the demographic details in the APY account, the subscribers can re-print their e-PRAN which shows the updated subscriber records.

The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) Scheme is being implemented through 235 APY-Service Providers all over the country consisting of 27 Public Sector Banks (PSBs), 19 private banks, 1 foreign bank, 56 Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), 109 District Cooperative Banks (DCBs), 16 State Cooperative Banks(SCBs), 6 Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) and the Department of Posts. All the APY-SPs are partners in achieving the APY outreach through-out the length and breadth of the country. Presently, there are more than 45 lacs subscribers registered in the Scheme. About 10000-15000 APY subscribers are getting enrolled into the Scheme every day.

The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi on 09th May, 2015 and became operational from 1st June, 2015. APY is available for all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years. Under the APY, the subscribers would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 per month from the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which depends on the age of the subscriber at the time of joining the APY. The Same amount of pension is paid to the spouse in case of subscriber’s demise. After the demise of both i.e. Subscriber & Spouse, the nominee would be paid with the pension corpus. There is option for Spouse to continue to contribute for balance period on premature death of subscriber before 60 years, so as to avail pension by Spouse. There are tax benefits at entry, accumulation and pension payment phases. If the actual returns on the pension contributions during the accumulation phase are higher than the assumed returns for the minimum guaranteed pension, such excess returns are passed on to the subscriber, resulting in enhanced scheme benefits.



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No imposition of Hindi language by Central Government

There is a report in a section of media that the Central Government is trying to impose Hindi language. In this regard reference was given to the Resolution issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Official Language and it was alleged that it has been made mandatory for Members of Parliament and Ministers knowing Hindi to deliver their speeches/statements in Hindi. 

The Committee of Parliament on Official Language was constituted in 1976 and is working since then. This Committee has submitted 9 parts of its report. The 9th part of the Committee’s report was submitted to the President of India on 2nd June, 2011. The then Chairman of the Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Committee had given 117 recommendations. As views of all state governments and Ministries/Departments of the Central Government were to be invited on the Committee’s recommendations, it took time before the recommendations were considered and accepted by the President. 

Recommendation No. 105 is as follows “All dignitaries including Hon’ble President and all the Ministers especially who can read and speak Hindi may be requested to give their speech/statement in Hindi only.” 

The Central Government while accepting the above mentioned recommendation has issued a Resolution dated 31st March 2017. The Recommendation by the Committee is amply clear as it is in the form of a request and does not entail any form of Order/Instruction. The aforementioned recommendation is in pursuance with Constitutional and Statutory provisions regarding the progressive use of Official Language Hindi. Also, the recommendation is based on the policy of propagation; promotion of Official language through motivation & inspiration which is in line with the Government’s Policy.

It is clarified that such media reports are unfounded and devoid of facts.



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