Addressing the 42nd convocation of IIT-Kanpur, he said the government has set in motion an ambitious programme to completely restructure the legal and regulatory environment of higher education. Observing that science and technology played a dominant role in determining the power and progress of a nation, Singh said: "This role has become even more critical in the wake of newer challenges like climate change.'' He said the country needed more innovation in areas like sustainable agriculture, affordable health care and energy security.
Advocating greater collaboration between institutions like IITs and the corporate sector, he said, "This would be of mutual benefit to both to the corporate sector it would mean cost effective solutions and newer technology while for the IITs it would bring much needed funds and enhance their research capabilities.''
The government would ensure the IITs function with the required degree of autonomy and flexibility and that the genuine needs of the IIT faculty were met, he said.
The Prime Minister congratulated the IIT-K students for their outstanding performance for which they received the medals and the degrees. "IIT-Kanpur is undoubtedly one of our top-most institutions of higher education. The students graduating today will always have the self-assurance that comes while being educated at a great institution. You will have the confidence that you are better than most others in your chosen fields,'' said the Prime Minister while addressing the students during the convocation.
The Prime Minister was later conferred upon with the degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by the chairman, board of governors of IIT-Kanpur in the presence of UP governor B L Joshi, hundreds of students, professors and other eminent guests. Former president APJ Abdul Kalam and former prime minister Morarji Desai were among eminent personalities who had been awarded the honorary degree earlier.