Kashipur: Expressing concern over the performance of universities and lack of a dedicated cadre of management professionals, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday noted that no Indian university figures in the list of top 200 such educational institutions in the world.
"According to an international ranking of universities, no Indian university figures among the top 200 universities of the world. Our effort must be aimed at taking Indian universities into the top league," he said.
Mukherjee was addressing the first convocation of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) here. The youngest of the elite institutions was founded three years back.
The present pool of competent management professionals is not enough to meet the needs of the country, he said.
A strategy is required to make the Indian industry compete successfully with the best in the world. Healthy growth of Indian business will be greatly facilitated by the availability of a competent cadre of management professionals.
"The pool of such professionals in our country is unfortunately not enough to meet the need of the country.
"The annual enrolment in commerce and management streams has increased from around 23 lakh in 2006-07 to around 34 lakh in 2011-12," he said.
The need for graduates and post-graduate students in these streams will be much higher in the future and the country must be ready to meet the demand, he said.
Underlining innovations in universities as an "important driver for growth," the President said, "Unfortunately, we also lag behind our major competitors in this aspect.
"The number of patent applications filed in India in 2012 was about 42,000, which is far below the six lakh applications in both China and US," he said.
For encouraging a culture of innovation in the country, he said, "We must create more opportunities for collaborative research, set up industry incubation parks in educational institutions and provide more research fellowships."
He observed that India today stands at the cusp of greatness and while there are many challenges, there are also boundless opportunities.
"We are passing through a phase of unprecedented demographic change which is likely to contribute to a substantially increased labour force," he said.
The bulk of this increase is expected to take place in the relatively younger age group of 20-35 years, which would make India one of the youngest nations in the world, he said.
"In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old as compared to an average age of 37 for China and the US, 45 for West Europe and 48 for Japan," the President said.
Exhorting the youths, Mukherjee said leaders of tomorrow shall aspire for higher standard of living, better service delivery and increased transparency and accountability.
He also underlined the importance of "inclusive growth" for the country`s political and economic stability and benefits for those who are on the margins of society and at the base of the socio-economic pyramid.
"The challenges being large and diverse, India needs grass-roots leaders who place people and their problems at the centre of social, economic and political discourse," he said.
Hoping that the students passing out of IIM-Kashipur will associate with their alma mater, he said the role played by alumni in the growth of leading universities across the world is well acknowledged.
The convocation was attended by Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Jitin Prasada.
37 students from the Post Graduate Programme of the Institute were awarded by the President on the occasion.