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Vice-President’s Speech at Bharat Biotech Campus, Hyderabad

Vice-President's Speech at Bharat Biotech Campus, Hyderabad

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Hon’ble Governor of Telangana, Administrator Puducherry and Governor of another state Jharkhand. A man with rich experience of having been a parliamentarian for two terms and now holding this constitutional position.

 

This constitutional position of the Governor is no longer ornamental and we have the right man at the right place with right experience, right dedication and right commitment.

 

Padma Awards have got very high credibility.They are no longer driven by patronage or so-called iconic status or reputations built by event management. Padma Awards are very authentic and you all must have been surprised that when a person next door gets Padma Award you never look for that. But your reaction will be the right person has got it.

 

In this case the right persons have got it. So I was there. We interacted with the couple a little more extensively when we invited them and others who had got Honoris Causa from Punjab University for lunch.

 

Very simple, very modest, not driven by commerce, not driven by the balance sheet results. The balance sheet must respect and reveal societal aspect. But thanks to pandemic COVID and pandemic COVID has taught us many good lessons.

 

One is the world has come to know about you people more closely. You have been majorly instrumental in taking care of 1.3 billion people, making us proud all the way. But what is more significant of their contribution is that this country, while handling its own problem, handheld 100 other countries, Covaxin Maitri.

 

We gave COVID vaccine free to about 100 countries. Now I come to the real point. How this has been brought about? Research, development, innovation.

 

Research and development are the final strength of any economy. They are the final strength of any nation. Execution is never a problem.

 

Execution can take place by mediocrity, but developing a particular medicine, being innovative about it, that’s the greatest help you can contribute to the humanity at large. This company stands out. And this company stands out not because of two of them.

 

It stands out because of the people before me also. And those who are in attendance in virtual mode. And those who may have served here and may have retired.

 

Because it is the human capital that is precious. It is the human capital that alone is the ultimate repository of your wealth. I have come across many educational institutions.

 

People who are big in infra, never had academic inclinations, have excellent institutions. But faculty is missing. That’s the situation.

 

Your esteemed institution has truly set a benchmark in innovation, research, service, and education. You are not driven by commerce interest. Of course, every mechanism has to be sustainable.

 

If it is not sustainable, it wouldn’t work. Then this company has been a pioneer. And a pioneer is one who faces headwind more severely than others.

 

Headwind in the shape of administrative hiccups. Headwind in the shape of assimilating human resource. Headwind initially in the shape of there not being sustainable financial reward.

 

But this has become a success model. I am told 9 billion vaccine doses globally have been delivered. Of course, our countries are big in size.

 

And we know big numbers. 1.4 billion. 9 billion is quite a statistical figure.

 

Staggering. Then it gives emphasis to alleviation of human misery. Because it has been said over ages, If you are not healthy, you cannot deliver.

 

You may be talented. You may be committed. You may be possessed of highest integrity and ethical standards.

 

You may have a brain which is remarkable. But if health fails you, rather than being asset to society, you become a liability. And if a person is not possessed of these great study qualities and suffers health hazard, his economy is already vulnerable.

 

It is nothing short of a panic in the entire family. Therefore, this work is remarkable human service. Because we are living in times where we have become too materialistic.

 

We talk of mind. Occasionally we talk of heart. But rarely we talk of soul.

 

Now soul and spirituality define a human being. And that comes only when society is not overtaken by health hazards. Fortunately, a country of our size has seen in recent years, policy initiatives and schemes that have hand-held the last in the row.

 

I am talking about the health program we have in the country. I think its reach is beyond any program in the world. But then a lot more is to be done.

 

If you look at our ancient scriptures, our Vedas, Atruvaveda in particular, you will find that focus on health and the kind of situations they have indicated. Now companies like this can work in innovation, research, development, to bring about a mechanism of prevention, precaution. Let us not get alert when we have a mechanism where the button has to be pressed and the doctor has to be summoned.

 

That situation must be avoided. And that is avoidable. I am sure a company like this would for sure take care of dissemination of right information, right knowledge across all segments of society, rural, tier 2 cities, tier 3 cities, and urban centres.

 

Your exceptional contribution made us proud for another reason. And that is India’s unprecedented technological penetration, digital penetration. A decade ago, imagine what the scene was.

 

And the scene was we were counted as a nation, fragile five, facing difficult situations, traversing difficult terrain. We have negotiated to slot number five, ahead of Canada, ahead of UK, ahead of France. Matter of time, we’ll be ahead of Japan and Germany.

 

But France and most of you will not be aware. When I was elected to Parliament in 1989, and it was a good fortune to be a minister, the size of the Indian economy, hold your breath, make sure of your seats, was less than that of cities like Paris and London. Can you imagine? In 1991, right now our foreign exchange reserves are more than 600 billion.

 

In 1991, to sustain our fiscal credibility, we had to physically load our gold in a plane. To be placed to two sea banks. What I’m telling you is we have come a long way.

 

We are at a place which I never imagined in 1991. Never dreamt of, never thought our Bharat will be what it is today. There is not a sector in which we are not in the big league.

 

Let’s talk of space. Chandrayaan 3 landed at that part of the moon where no one has landed. On 23rd August, 2023, it has become now a space day.

 

Tiranga and Shiva Shakti points are embedded on the surface of the moon. Thanks to our achievements. All this because ISRO, an organisation like you, is engaged in that activity.

 

Go to 60s, rocket parts being taken on a bicycle. In 60s, our neighbouring country could put its satellite in the space from the homeland. We couldn’t.

 

And now this country puts in space satellites of developed nations. Singapore to UK and others. And why? Good value for money.

 

But look at our national temperament, some of them. They continue to be in the bubble. They are incorrigible critics of our development.

 

They are recipe for chaos. Chandrayaan 2, it was September 2019. Along with my wife, I went to science city in Kolkata as governor of state of West Bengal.

 

500 boys and girls were with me. Around 2 a.m. or thereabout, the landing was not soft. We reached quite close to the surface.

 

Very close to it, just few centimetres. Landing was not smooth. Some people took it as failure.

 

It wasn’t failure. It was success but not 100%. If Chandrayaan 3 is a success story, the foundation was laid by Chandrayaan 2. And therefore, when you are engaged in such a difficult task, there will be failures.

 

There will be fear of failure also. There will be people to compete and walk away with success which may be yours. Notwithstanding that, our pursuit to serve humanity by research and development, scientific research should never get impeded.

 

Indigenous research is something on which you must focus. There was a time when we would wait leisurely that a product will be developed in the West. Let’s take a radio.

 

We’ll get it after about 5-6 years. Then we got it after about 2 years. Then we got about 6 months.

 

And now we get it immediately. But now, there is reversal. Our products are going outside.

 

We got into that mode. Now, I put two poses before you. 100 billion or more foreign exchange is being drained out every year because we import items that are available.

 

This is, as a matter of fact, disrespect to being vocal about local or commitment to society. I term it as economic nationalism. It immediately has three serious dangerous consequences.

 

One, avoidable drain of foreign exchange. Secondly, when we import avoidable imports, items that are made available here, only for some fiscal gain. We are depriving our people of employment.

 

We are snatching work from their hands. And more critically, we are also impeding entrepreneurship growth. Same is about raw material export.

 

Why should a nation of our size export raw material? Why should we declare to the whole world that we can’t add value to it? We export raw material. Value is added, we import the item to which value has been added to our raw material by someone outside. Now, while your stream may be different, you are a leader in research and development.

 

You are trailblazers. This must be there in all areas. I am an agriculturalist.

 

I belong to a farmer’s family. I know the importance of education. But for admission to any school, I may not have got opportunity.

 

There was no road, no electricity, no water, no toilet in the house. What I see in every village now. Transformative change.

 

Toilet is there. Tap water is there. Electricity is there.

 

The Internet is there. And education is also there. The world is stunned that the per capita internet consumption of this great nation of 1.4 billion per capita is more than that of USA and China taken together.

 

Our digital transactions are nearly 50% of global transactions, empirically. It could be one or two percent, less or more. In such a situation, how painful it is.

 

Because I am before people who have discerning minds, scientific temper, who have capacity to change Bharat and the world, not arithmetically, but geometrically. Can we countenance anti-national narratives? Can we suffer an expert trying to capitalise on ignorance of others? He knows full well what I am saying is wrong. He knows India’s economy will be rising more than 7.5%, which it did at the relevant time.

 

He said it wouldn’t go more than 5%. By virtue of the position he held, ordinary people believed him. Those who are doubting our accomplishments have to experience it by cutting out of that bubble.

 

Commitment to nationalism is not optional. It’s the only way out. We have to be proud Indians. We have to take pride in our historical accomplishments. I don’t want to tell you what we have achieved. But just look at the last few months.

 

New building of parliament in less than 30 months. Not just a building. Made functional inside, 100%. We had Bharat Mandapam, one of the ten global convention centres. Where we held G20. Yashod Bhoomi, where we held P20.

 

Look at our train mechanism. Look at our airports and railway stations. Look at our highways. Look at our digital penetration. Now, all this has to sustain. By we Indians being different.

 

We can no longer afford to look for technology outside. I am happy to share with you. That when it comes to disruptive technologies, you are aware of them. You are informed scientific minds. It is nothing less than a new industrial revolution. These technologies have entered our homes, our offices, our way of life.

 

Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, machine learning and the kind. Now research has to generalise them. These technologies otherwise are like unregulated nuclear explosion. But if nuclear power is regulated, you get power. That is another challenge. So one Bharat by take is not enough. Hundreds are not enough. In a country of our size, the number has to multiply. And seriously, India is known as the pharmacy of the world.

 

Just imagine. The most populous country in the world. This pharmacy of the world means it has taken care of its own populace. And then catering to others also. There is more to be done. Our radar has to focus on global issues.

 

The world is finding it very difficult to deal with challenges which I call existential. They are challenges not for one country. Not for one region. Not for one kind of human race. These are challenges for the entire planet. Disease, health, food, climate change.

 

And the solution lies only in research and development and technology. Friends, all over the world, academics have blossomed. On account of corporates hand-holding them. If you look at institutions of repute in the western world, they have become financial giants because their alumni have contributed. Industry has supported the research. How painful it is. And some of us within the country have doled out millions of dollars to those institutions, ignoring institutions at home. I’m not criticising. They may have done it rationally, thoughtfully, for a valid cause.

 

But I appeal from this platform. Our corporates, they must hand-hold research and development. They must hand-hold our academic institutions. I was at a function recently where I put a point across. For consideration, I’ll do it here. CSR fund is defined by statute.

 

For some companies, the amount will be such that even if there is a will, intent, nothing can be achieved. But if corporates come on the same platform, that every year we will use part of CSR to bring one or two great research centres, institutes of excellence, they have funds from CSR. If they part with part of the CSR fund, in a structured manner, it will do wonders.

 

And in a decreased time, our country will be having institutions all over of that category. I think that is something we should be seriously focusing. Another thing which the team here can take note of and act is we have greatest talent pool reserve in the shape of alumni of institutions, IITs, IIMs, great colleges, other institutions engaged in science, technology, forensic science.

 

They are alumni. The alumni are all over. The alumni come together, engage in an activity to help their institute in infrastructure or otherwise.

 

But if they constitute a think tank for policy formation of this country, I can assure you it will do wonders, including in your own line. They both have seen both the words. They were there. And came in late 90s here.

 

Future belongs to Bharat. Our present is proof of it. At present, we are the only country of our size where the economy is growing faster than anyone else. We are the only country indicated by World Bank, IMF, World Economic Forum as a favourite destination of investment and opportunities. Presently, we are the only country whose human resource is contributing all over the globe in apex institutions. We are the only country of our size that has vibrant democracy, constitutionally structured at all levels from village to the centre. And therefore, to say that we are emerging now as a superpower, we are no longer a country with potential. We are no longer a sleeping giant.

 

We are fast moving. We are fast tracking. We have to see and ensure that our marathon March Bharat@2047, where it celebrates the centenary of its independence, that march will be a successful march, a march in togetherness with only one object: to make our Bharat a developed nation and a global leader, because Bharat being a global leader means peace and stability for the entire humanity. Look around in history, the only country that has not believed in expansion.

 

We had Raja and Jamidaar; they never believed in expansion. We suffered invasion; we never engaged in invasion. We absorbed everyone; we sought resilience. No other country can have that kind of civilization ethos of 5000 years.

 

Lord Buddha says, “Change is never painful, only the resistance to change is painful,” and there was Greek philosopher Heraclitus who says, “The only constant is change.” He also said the same man cannot enter the same river twice because neither river will be the same nor the man will be the same.

 

There must be a synergy approach between all stakeholders in democratic governance with one object in mind: to ensure the rise of the nation and leave to its citizens in all sectors, relieve them from health problems, empower them in education, make their life affordable, inspire them. Right now, the nation is in a bit a mood; there is an atmosphere of hope and possibility.

 

I am extremely grateful to come to a place where people are driven by the consensus of humanity, where people are driven by sublimity, where people are passionate not to increase their bank balance but to increase their societal contribution balance.

My best wishes to all of you and those who are in virtual attendance. I wish you the very best in your life, and I am sure you will, to conclude, be worthy partners in the marathon March for Viksit Bharat@2047.

 

 

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