Saturday, January 30, 2010

K. D. Madan - Eye witness to Gandhi assassination

On the eve of Gandhi's 62nd death anniversary, a look-back at that fateful evening by K D Madan, a witness to the Mahatma's assassination.

Date: January 30, 1948

Time: 5.16 pm (Dusk is approaching)

Place: Rear lawn of the Birla House, New Delhi [ Images ]

Nearly 500 people are seated on the ground and some are standing with their eyes on the garden-path leading from the main house to the rear lawn. Enter Gandhi, with his hands resting on the shoulders on Abha and Manu Gandhi. He folds his hands. A gunshot rends the air. Then another, and then a third. Gandhi falls.

I have often wondered whether I would not have been happier had I been spared those few traumatic moments I was destined to witness that historic evening on the lawns of Birla House, on Albuquerque Road (later renamed Tees January Marg to commemorate Gandhi's martyrdom), New Delhi. I had been visiting Birla House every evening since the middle of September 1947 to attend the prayer meetings of Mahatma Gandhi [ Images ].

Strange as it may seem, it was not because I was a devotee of the Mahatma -- at least not to begin with -- that I went to these prayer meetings every evening. What took me to these prayer meetings was that as the program officer of All India [ Images ] Radio, I was assigned to record the Mahatma's post-prayer speech every evening. AIR would then broadcast the speech at prime time on its national network.

Voice recording those days was a far more cumbersome procedure than it is today. Voice recorders and handy cassettes had not yet arrived. Recording was done on unwieldy presto discs 16 to 18 inches in diameter; and Birla House being situated about 3 miles away from the studios of AIR, the speech would, in the first instance, be carried by telephone lines to the studios of AIR and recorded on in the control room for subsequent broadcast.

On that fateful evening, as dusk approached, little seemed different. I was making my last-minute checks, including testing the microphones, checking the quality of speech on the telephone lines, and settling with the control room engineer the day's cues to signal the start and the end of the evening's recording.

All these checks would take barely a few minutes once the equipment had been set up at the usual place, but by their very nature, these would be completed only minutes before Gandhi took his place on the low wooden platform at the far end of the sprawling lawns.

As I recollect, I was preoccupied alternately checking the recording equipment one moment and turning my gaze the next moment towards the pergola-ed garden path leading from the main house to the lawn along which Gandhi was slowly approaching.

I can recall his coming up the two steps from the garden-path onto the raised lawn with his two hands resting on the shoulders of his grand-nieces Abha and Manu, one clad in a khadi sari and the other in a khadi salwar kameez.

The next instant, I again turned to check the microphone for the last time. I had not completed the check when a gunshot rent the air. Strangely, I continued to concentrate on whatever I was doing, thinking someone had burst a firecracker. But barely a second later, another shot pierced the air and, by instinct, I knew what had happened.

As my eyes turned towards the scene, I saw the man pulling the trigger a third time. In a moment, Gandhi fell. Those nearest him knelt down and formed a ring round the fallen body. As legend unfolded later, the last words, it was said, to emanate from Gandhi's lips as he fell down were "He Ram!"

I must confess that from the place I was positioned at that moment, I did not hear these words. For a brief while, there was pandemonium among the audience. Several persons leapt forward and seized the assassin who offered no resistance nor uttered a word.

Someone tall and of a strong build from amongst the congregation, with a flowing white beard, clad in white kurta-pajama, quietly lifted the Mahatma's body in his two arms all by himself and slowly walked carrying the body to the room which had been Gandhi's last abode.

The whole crowd surged behind in the same direction, and very soon, the lawn became desolate. I hastened to gather the recording equipment and put it aside.

Moments later, I noticed that someone had circled off the spot where Gandhi had fallen with a handful of humble twigs, and in the middle of that circle, a tiny candle placed on a small stone was burning with a flickering flame. By then, the sun had set and it was dark.

The news of the ghastly tragedy must have traveled at lightning speed. In a matter of a few moments, thousands of people came rushing to Birla House.

Lord Mountbatten, the last British viceroy and the first governor general of India was among the first to arrive, followed minutes later by Jawaharlal Nehru [ Images ].

Sardar Patel, who had visited Gandhi only an hour earlier that evening and had, in fact, left when Gandhi looked at his watch impatiently murmuring that he was getting late for the prayer meeting, too rushed back on hearing the news.

So did Maulana Azad, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and many others. In the crowd, which by now was swelling by the minute, could be seen people from every walk of life including many foreigners.

I could recognize in their midst, Edgar Snow, the celebrated American author whose Red Star Over China is a classic today, and Vincent Sheen, another well-known American journalist. Thousands of people had come inside Birla House and were straining for a last look at the Mahatma's body. Many more were milling against the gateposts outside, straining to make their way inside.

Even though everyone present seemed to know intuitively by now that the Mahatma was no more, no formal announcement was made. After minutes of waiting which to those in the crowd must have looked like hours, emerged Nehru from inside the room, grief-stricken and with his eyes moist with tears.

Striving to look composed, he slowly inched his way to the gatepost through the milling crowd. For a while, he stood speechless, and then from his lips emanated those famous words: 'The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we call him, the Father of the Nation, is no more. We will not run to him for advice and seek solace from him and it is a terrible blow not to me only but to millions in this country. And it is difficult to soften the blow by any advice that I or anyone can give.'

At this point, Nehru broke down and wept unabashedly and everyone around wept with him. After a few moments, Nehru looked up again, his face soaked in tears, which he made no attempt to wipe, and added: 'The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrong. For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. The light that has illumined this country for these many years will illumine this country for many more years, and a thousand years later, that light will still be seen in this country, and the world will see it and it would give solace to innumerable hearts.'

These words were carried live to the world by All India Radio. The horror of the slaying lay not in that someone had slain another, not even in the motives which lay behind the act, nor in the unholy alliance in which the killers had joined. The horror in this case lay simply in the fact that someone could look into the eyes of the gentlest of human beings and yet retain the strength and resolve to pull the trigger.

K D Madan (in the pic), 86, is a retired Indian civil servant and lives in New Delhi. He was 24 when he witnessed Mahatma Gandhi's assassination

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't just shed tears for whistleblowers, put systems in place to protect them

Don't just shed tears for whistleblowers, put systems in place to protect them

ARVIND KEJRIWAL, 27 January 2010, 02:17am IST

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Satish Shetty's murder raises some critical issues. Before everyone forgets him, can we learn some lessons and put such systems in place so that
such murders do not take place in future?

Before Shetty, Satyendra Dubey, Manjunath and many others died fighting corruption. It raises two issues — timely and effective investigation into allegations of corruption and security of those who raise their voices.

Do we have an effective and credible anti-corruption machinery? The answer is emphatic "No". When an ordinary citizen exposes corruption, either through RTI or otherwise, where should he complain? There are a plethora of anti-corruption agencies — police, vigilance departments, CVC, Lokayuktas, CBI — not one of them is effective and independent of the executive, against whom they are supposed to function.

Let us start with Central Vigilance Commission, which is the apex body in our country to deal with corruption. With a staff less than 200 people, it is supposed to check corruption in more than 1500 central government departments, many of them being as big as income tax department, railways, excise etc. It receives more than 15,000 complaints of corruption every year but investigates less than a few hundred. Its machinery is woefully inadequate to investigate all complaints that it receives. Therefore, more than half of the complaints received are forwarded to internal vigilance wings of various departments. Rest of the complaints are merely filed. Even in those cases where it investigates, it does not have powers to prosecute or take disciplinary action against officials found guilty. It merely recommends to respective department to take action.

What happens to the complaints forwarded by CVC to internal vigilance wings of various departments? Each department has such a wing. In many cases, it is manned by field officials from the same department who double up as vigilance officials. So, if someone makes a complaint against a wrongdoing by any such official, that official investigates against himself. One railway employee was being forced by his boss to pass some wrong bills. The official complained to the Railways chairman and CVC. Both of them forwarded the complaints to his boss, who also happened to be the vigilance official for that area, to investigate against himself and report back. One can imagine what the boss would have done to that official.

In many departments, even if there are separate officials for vigilance jobs, they are mostly drawn up from the same department. Though some big departments do have an outsider as the vigilance head, however, the entire vigilance machinery under him is drawn up from the same department. So, if a vigilance official receives a complaint against a senior officer, he would never have the courage to proceed against him. Therefore, as soon as a complaint is received, the vigilance officer assures that senior officer of protection in expectation of some quid pro quo in future.

Then there is CBI, which is directly controlled by the central government and has been used shamelessly by all governments to scuttle enquiries against political loyalists and settle scores against opponents.

That's all in the name of anti-corruption at Central level. State governments also have similar anti-corruption machineries. State vigilance bureau and police are directly under the control of state executive and cannot proceed against anyone without express or tacit approval from political or bureaucratic bosses, who are themselves, directly or indirectly, involved in most corruption cases.

Can this anti-corruption machinery deliver? It is only meant to either scuttle complaints against high and mighty or is used to victimize those who do not fall in line.

With the advent of RTI, the number of people, who are exposing corruption and then seeking punishment for the guilty, has increased exponentially. They get frustrated when their complaints are not acted upon. If they persist, they are eliminated.

Therefore, we do not need plethora of investigating bodies. We need just one agency, completely independent of the executive and has powers and resources to investigate and prosecute. It should also have the powers to take disciplinary action against guilty officials. The agency should itself be completely transparent in its functioning and should complete investigations within a prescribed time limit. The chief of this agency should be appointed through a participatory process. Special courts should be set up to decide cases filed by this agency within a prescribed time. Lokayuktas in states can play this role, if we make necessary amendments to Lokayukta Act on the above lines. At Centre, we desperately need a Lokpal to fill this gap. A very weak version of Lokpal Bill is pending in Parliament since 1967!

Then, if any whistle blower is victimized or threatened, he could approach Lokayukta or Lokpal for protection, who should decide upon it and direct the police to provide protection within 24 hours.

Hong Kong, faced with similar levels of corruption in 1970's, set up an Independent Commission Against Corruption. The Commission was given complete powers to investigate and prosecute. Officers were handpicked. Out of roughly 110 police officers at middle level, the commission found almost 105 guilty and sacked them. We need that kind of action.

Media will have to play a critical role. It was due to media pressure that Jessica and Ruchika got justice in the past. Let media demand such systemic changes this time that every Jessica and Ruchika gets justice next time.

(The writer is a well-known social activist)

Friday, January 22, 2010

No Alterrnative to Congress?? - Kuldip Nayar

On its 125th birth anniversary, the Congress put up a hoarding to focus attention on five leaders: Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Party president Sonia Gandhi’s love for the dynasty is understandable. But the limelight distorts history.

No doubt, Nehru was of the dynasty. But he loved all and did so much for the country that his imprint is still fresh on the institutions he built. A democratic, pluralistic constitution was his gift to the nation. He wielded all the power but never misused it.

The three others, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi have used the Congress as an instrument not of reform but power. They do not merit the distinction that Nehru commands.

Indira Gandhi has to her credit the suspension of fundamental rights and the detention of more than 100,000 people without trial. During Rajiv Gandhi’s regime the authorities and many Congress leaders connived at the killing of 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi. Sonia Gandhi presided over a meeting of top party leaders who exposed the country to the threat of balkanisation with the decision to create the new state of Telangana.

True, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi’s son, is making waves. But putting him alongside Nehru gives us a peep into the thinking of the powers that be. It is unfair to him as much as to the party. He would like to earn his position and be judged by his performance, not because of his dynastic ties. By showing Rahul Gandhi at the head of five leaders in the hoarding presupposes his qualities of leadership which he has yet to prove.

Indeed, the Congress has come a long way from the days when it was founded in 1884. The person who converted the Congress into a people’s party was Mahatma Gandhi. The organisers could not help giving him prominence. But he was not in the hoarding which showed only the dynasty. Even otherwise, he would have been out of place except with Nehru.

Nowhere on the Congress radar does Maulana Abul Kalam Azad figure. A prominent leader in the national struggle who made many sacrifices, he has been practically forgotten by the party. His photo is seldom displayed at Congress sessions.

Over the years, the values of the Congress have changed. It was austere in its approach. Today the five-star culture has taken over. On corruption especially, there was zero tolerance. Lal Bahadur Shastri, mentioned the least in the present Congress set-up, made the Punjab chief minister resign because the Justice Das Commission held him guilty on a trivial charge. But neither Rajiv Gandhi nor Sonia Gandhi found anyone guilty for the Bofors gun scandal. In fact, Jharkhand’s Madhu Koda, who has apparently made more than Rs4,000 crore in less than two years, was the Congress nominee to head the government.

The Congress has also converted public functionaries into instruments to carry out the party’s orders. And they, the bureaucrats, have played havoc with the country.

But other political parties that have ruled at the centre and in the states are no better. They, too, have erased the thin line between right and wrong, the moral and immoral.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is most to blame. Its Hindu rashtra policy, dictated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has tried to sink the minority communities in the sea of communalism in a country which is pluralistic.

The good news is that the BJP is going downhill rapidly. Its strength came down from 138 to 116 in the Lok Sabha election held last May. In contrast, the Congress won 206 seats in the 543-member house. The BJP and its allies lost in eight states which went to the polls last year.

The defeat is reportedly the reason why the RSS has taken direct charge of the party. Its leaders do not, however, want to face the fact that fundamentalism does not sell anymore. One fears lest the party should try to repeat what it did in Gujarat (state-sponsored killings) in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where it rules.

The left is still licking its wounds. Its tally of 64 in the Lok Sabha has come down to a mere 16. A strong opposition has emerged in West Bengal and Kerala where it rules. The anti-incumbency factor may play a part in the defeat of leftist governments in both states.

Even otherwise, the youth which once provided the cadre to the communists, are more attracted by the corporate sector. In fact, the Maoists have come to be considered leftists. The communists are seen at best as radical Congressmen.

Regional outfits like Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party and Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal are in a shambles. The only regional party that has won the state election is the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu and Janata Dal (United) in Bihar have yet to pass muster. Mayawati, the Dalit leader who is UP chief minister, is losing her ground.

Therefore, there is no opposition party which can provide an alternative to the Congress. Its arrogance and that of its governments at the centre and in the states has violated the rule of law irreparably. The party has done very little to check food prices that have risen by 20 per cent in the last six months. The lower half is suffering the most. Power has corrupted the Congress. Absolute power may corrupt the party absolutely.

There has to be an alternative party committed to secularism and public welfare. A viable opposition is necessary in a democratic state so as to keep the government on its toes. India’s graph of clean administration and basic human rights is dipping. The more space the Congress occupies the less would be the attention paid to values. Dynastic politics is ominous.

The writer is a senior journalist based in Delhi.

Kuldip Nayar on The Right to Know - CJ India's reluctance to share info

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Director's Report 2010 convention

Director's Report
Click here to download
Hon’ble Chief Guest Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Shri Drona Rath Chairman Board of Governors, Members of the Board of Governors, Members of the Senate, Deans, Heads of the Departments, Faculty Colleagues, Students and Staff of this Institute, Distinguished Guests, Recipients of Degrees and Awards, Nominees of Electronic and Print Media, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Senate, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, and on my own behalf, I deem it a special privilege and honour to extend you all the most cordial welcome to our Seventh Convocation. Before we proceed with the process of awarding degrees, I propose to take this opportunity to share with you our activities, our successes and our failures over the past one year.

First, let me have the pleasure of introducing to you the Chief Guest of today, Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It is indeed a matter of great fortune for this institute and for the city of Rourkela that Dr. Kalam has kindly accepted our invitation to address the convocation of this Institute and to lay the foundation stone of the Centre for Technology Innovation and Industrial Relations. We are deeply grateful to you Sir, for this singular favour bestowed on us. Over the years, your work towards nation building in terms of teaching and research, planning and development, writing and leadership has made every citizen of our country proud. With your guidance as a natural leader in scientific and cultural spheres and with your exemplary personal achievements, you have always been a constant source of inspiration and role model for the young and the old. Your gracious presence in this Institute shows your affectionate concern for the development of science and technology in general, and towards NIT, Rourkela, in particular.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was born on 15th October 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. After graduating from the Madras Institute of Technology with specialisation in Aeronautical Engineering, he joined the Defence R&D Organisation in 1958. Four years later, he moved to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which opened a new and the most glorious chapter of his career. At ISRO Dr. Kalam made significant contribution to India‘s space programme by developing India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India a member of the exclusive Space Club. Subsequently, he guided the evolution of ISRO's ambitious launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration that still remains the main work horse of the space industry. After working for two decades in ISRO and mastering launch vehicle technologies, in 1982 Dr. Kalam took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

Dr. Kalam is credited with the development and operationalisation of AGNI, AKASH and PRITHVI missiles and for building indigenous capability in critical technologies through networking of multiple institutions. He worked as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development, from July 1992 to December 1999. During this period he led the programme on weaponisation of strategic missile systems. He also gave thrust to self-reliance in other important defence systems by encouraging multiple development tasks and mission projects, the successful development of the Light Combat Aircraft being an example.

As Chairman of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) and as a scientist of international standing, Dr. Kalam led a group of 500 experts to create the Technology Vision 2020 that gives a clear road map for transforming India from the present status of a developing nation to that of a developed economy. He has also served as the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India in the rank of Cabinet Minister from November 1999 to November 2001 where he was responsible for evolving policies, strategies and missions for development applications. Dr. Kalam was also the Chairman, Ex-officio, of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C) where he piloted the India Millennium Mission 2020.

In November 2001, Dr. Kalam took up academic pursuit as Professor, Technology and Societal Transformation at Anna University, Chennai, and was involved in teaching and research tasks. To cap all his scientific and administrative work, he gave himself a mission to ignite young minds for national development by meeting high school students across the country. As a part of his literary pursuit, four of Dr. Kalam's books Wings of Fire, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, My Journey, and Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India have become household names in our country and around the world.

Dr. Kalam is one of the most distinguished technologists that our country has ever produced with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. The Government of India has honoured him with the nation's highest civilian honours: the Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Indian Government. On April 29, 2009, he became the first Asian to be bestowed the "Hoover Medal", America's top engineering prize, for his outstanding contribution to public service. On September 15, 2009, he was recipient of the International von Kármán Wings Award. It is our singular fortune that a man of Dr. Kalam‘s standing has agreed to accept the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from this Institute.

Dr. Kalam served as the 11th President of India during the period 2002 to 2007. He is a man of vision, who is always full of ideas aimed at the development of our country through enlightenment of young minds.

We also extend a warm welcome to Shri Drona Rath, our esteemed Chairman of the Board of Governors to the Seventh Convocation. A distinguished alumnus of this Institute, Shri Rath has made exemplary contribution to Indian industry as the Chairman and Managing Director of MECON, Ltd. Sir, your dedicated work in the field of engineering and management, your guidance to the young generation and your interest in social work have always made us proud. We are grateful to you, Sir, for guiding us on the path of progress.

Shri Rath was born in the year 1950 in our home district of Sundargarh, Orissa. After completing the Senior Cambridge examination from St. Patrick‘s High School, Asansol, he joined this institute, then known as the Regional Engineering College, Rourkela, where he obtained his Bachelor‘s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in the year 1971. After a brief stint at Bridge and Roof, Shri Rath joined the Central Engineering and Design Bureau of Hindustan Steel Limited (presently known as MECON Limited) in March 1972 as a Graduate Engineer. During the four decades of his illustrious career in CEDB & MECON, Shri Rath held various managerial positions and was elevated to the post of Chairman-cum-Managing Director in September 2005. He is also holding additional charge of Managing Director of Metallurgical & Engineering Consultants (Nigeria) Limited, a joint venture company formed by MECON with Ajaokuta Steel Company and Nigerian partners. During his tenure in MECON, apart from services relating to consultancy and engineering, he has been responsible for the entire commercial and marketing activities of the company as General Manager (Commercial). On his elevation to the post of Director (Projects), he was also responsible for implementation of various projects in addition to overseeing the commercial functions of the company. Shri Rath has contributed immensely to raising the performance of his company during his tenure as Director (Projects) and also as Chairman-cum-Managing Director. Shri Rath is also apart-time Director of Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa Limited, Bhubaneswar and a member of the Research Council of Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology.

Shri Rath has been an ardent sports lover ever since his school days and has represented his school and college in various competitions. He is a recipient of the University Blue from the University of Sambalpur which makes this institute proud even today. Today Shri Rath is involved in various sports activities which are being organized in and around Ranchi in general and in MECON in particular.

Shri Rath is a visionary with strong conviction, clear strategic vision and intellectual capacity coupled with proven managerial experience. He has been actively associated with various professional and philanthropic associations and is the Chairman of Ranchi Cheshire Home.

I am sure the presence of these two eminent dignitaries among us will inspire our young graduates and postgraduates to work hard to take the Institute and the country to new heights.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to be able to report that in the year following our last Convocation, our Institute has maintained a steady momentum of growth in all aspects of its activity. Now I take the liberty to present before you the highlights of the Institute activities during the past one year.
The Institute
On 15th August 2007, on its 47th Foundation Day, NIT Rourkela was declared to be an Institute of National Importance by an Act of Parliament. With this, the academic focus changed from impartation of shop floor skills to innovation, research and development of new technology. All this required change in outlook of faculty, staff and students. We have succeeded in creating and maintaining the momentum of change, and this we consider to be our biggest achievement. We are working towards creating intellectual property that will give technological independence to our country in the world arena and towards generating human capital that will sustain this creative process.

The institute has taken up innovative measures to go beyond the image of a traditional teaching research university. It has laid much emphasis on innovation and collaboration with industry not only to work on real life problems but also to implement technologies of the future. The first step in this direction has been the establishment of the "Centre for Technology Innovation and Industrial Relations", where young student entrepreneurs will meet established companies to incubate technology concepts for creating real products and processes. I am happy to announce before this august gathering that our honoured Chief Guest Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has yesterday laid the foundation stone of the first building of this new entity.

In appreciation of the innovations in academics and academic administration, our institute has been bestowed with the "Think Odisha Leadership Award" by Shri Naveen Pattnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa on behalf of the sponsors - Tefla‘s and the Times of India group.

For a long time the institute campus was host to 164 tribal families, whose presence obstructed new construction and expansion of building infrastructure. I am happy to announce here, that empathetic persuasion and establishment of brotherhood with this indigenous population is succeeding in restoration of the land for academic purpose. I would like to put on record our appreciation of the good will of the local community, and the support of the Rourkela Steel Plant and of the Government of Orissa.
The Academic Programme
It is widely seen that globalization and the new economic order have brought in new challenges to institutions of higher learning. Availability of high quality human resource in science and technology has become an absolute necessity. Our institute has undertaken a number of steps to meet the new challenge through upgradation of our academic programme. Among the innovations introduced into the academic process during the past years are continuous student evaluation, course feedback, curricular reforms and online fee payment. Our Institute has tried to create an ambience of academic excellence that is conducive to growth of innovative research and is supportive to industry.

The academic programme of NIT Rourkela has always remained among the best in the country with special emphasis on the postgraduate and research programmes. With the support of the Ministry of HRD, the Ph.D. programme has been strengthened. I am happy to announce that this year we shall award twelve Ph.D. degrees and twenty M. Tech. degrees by research. The superior laboratory facility and the scholastic ambience have attracted some of the brightest and most motivated young men and women to this institute. We are continuing to add research fellowships every year through both direct and project funding and are confident that the number of researchers will soon be comparable to that in major technical universities around the world. Our post graduate and research programmes cover not only the traditional disciplines of engineering, but also management, humanities, physical and social sciences. The new M. Tech. programme in Transportation Engineering offered by the Department of Civil Engineering deserves special mention.

Our undergraduate programme continues to attract some of the best talents in the country. The B. Tech. programme has been strengthened by the introduction of course feedback system, open electives, greater emphasis on project work and continuous monitoring. Computerized monitoring of attendance, personalized progress monitoring, counselling through departmental faculty advisors, and introduction of slow pace programme have made students more responsible and innovative. Two special measures adopted for strengthening our academic programme are the Short-Term Industrial Experience Programme and the compulsory courses on Seminar and Technical Writing. The two year Masters programme has been expanded by the introduction of a new M.Sc. programme in Life Science and a five-year integrated M.Sc. programme in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Preparations are under way for introduction of new programmes in Industrial Design and Business Management. M.Sc. programme in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Preparations are under way for introduction of new programmes in Industrial Design and Business Management.

As creative project work gains greater importance in our undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes, the opportunities for creation of marketable intellectual property are increasing. To facilitate protection of such intellectual property, the Institute has introduced a progressive Intellectual Property Policy. The Institute is taking proactive steps to make faculty, students and technicians conscious of the value of their intellectual property and ways of safeguarding it.
Sponsored Research And Industrial Consultancy
It is my pleasure to bring to your kind notice that NIT Rourkela has made concerted efforts to contribute to the growth of knowledge. The Institute‘s faculty is being increasingly recognized by Government and private agencies for their intellectual capacity through award of sponsored research grants and consultancy projects. A large number of sponsored research and consultancy grants have been received, making our institute one of the most prominent sites of academic R&D in the country.

Presently, sixteen consultancy projects with a total value of Rupees 5 crores and 87 sponsored projects with a total value of nearly 15 crores are being pursued in different departments of our Institute. During the calendar year 2009, the Institute has received sanction of thirty-four sponsored projects with a total value of nearly 5 crore. It has also secured 7 consultancy projects of value exceeding Rs. 30 lakhs. Additional sponsored research and consultancy projects worth several crores of rupees are in various stages of processing.

During this calendar year, nine research projects have been sponsored in the Department of Chemistry by DST, CSIR and Ministry of Environment and Forests. Major areas of research include biological and catalytic activities, environmental applications, nanomaterials for targeted tumor therapy and removal of hazardous anions from water. Six more projects have been awarded by DST to the Department of Civil Engineering, the major areas of research being vibration of laminated composite panels, modeling of meandering compound channels, shallow foundations on geogrid reinforced soil, nonlinear dynamic analysis of smart composite structures and landslide remediation using soil nails. A major international project has also been initiated with funding from Australian AID programme.

The Department of Mining Engineering has bagged two sponsored projects from DST and CSIR. The research topics include fly ash based composites and susceptibility of Indian coals to spontaneous heating. Similarly, the Department of Physics has received three projects from DST and IUAC, the areas of research covering a wide range of applications, such as jute fibre and its composites for application in FRP, lead free functional materials and composites of YBCO with non-superconducting nanoparticles.

The Departments of Mechanical, Chemical and Ceramic Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciences have also secured research projects from DST, KVIC, CSIR, BRFST and ICSSR. The Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering has been awarded a project by DST on Development of nano-dispersed fine grained coatings by electrodeposition. The Department of Electrical Engineering has been assigned the responsibility of designing efficient schemes for PAPR reduction in OFDM based 4G wireless application by the Institution of Engineers. The Department of Mathematics has been awarded a project by the Department of Atomic Energy on Vogan diagram of Lie superalgebras, Kac-Moody algebras and application to quantum transport problems. The Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering has secured a project on Analysis of microstrip radiator using particle swarm optimization technique from ISRO. The Department of Biotechnology and Medical Engineering has received a project on Hsp 90-based therapeutic approach for breast cancer treatment from DST, Government of India.

The Institute‘s commitment to provide direct intellectual assistance to industry and Government is reflected through consultancy projects, testing service and continuing education programmes. Major consultancy projects have been secured by the Department of Civil Engineering from the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, BALCO Korba, and from M/s Otto Projects Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata. The Department of Mining Engineering has received a consultancy project from Shapoorji Pallanji & Co., Mumbai. The Department of Computer Sciences Engineering has secured a project on preparing innovative E-Learning courseware from the National Mission on Education through Application of Information and Communication Technology.
Continuing Education: Short Term Courses, Conferences, Seminars And Workshops
Short term courses, conferences, seminars and workshops are important academic activities that foster interaction among scientists and increase visibility of the Institute among its scientific peers. The Institute has taken initiative towards hosting of conferences and inviting scientific workers from across the country to our campus. During the calendar year 2009, the Institute has conducted 10 short-term courses and 14 conferences/seminars/workshops. All these courses were well attended by personnel from industry and academia.

The institute also has an active seminar programme which has given opportunity to our faculty and students to meet some of the brightest minds of our country. The most prominent among the seminars presented in 2009 was the Second Foundation Day Lecture delivered by Professor J.B. Joshi, the pioneering Chemical engineer and Director of the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. Prof. Joshi‘s inspiring lecture on effective industry-institute interaction has motivated faculty members of this institute to direct their research towards solving live industrial problems.
Training And Placement
The Training and Placement Centre has been aggressively working towards providing quality placement to our graduates and postgraduates in reputed organizations. I am proud to say that our students are highly rated and respected in both core and software industry. During the academic session 2008-2009, 58 companies visited our Institute for campus placement and offered more than 600 jobs to our students. During the current academic session 2009-10, 34 companies have already visited our campus and have offered jobs to 405 students. The major PSUs who participated in our campus programme are IOCL, Coal India Limited, DRDO, and NTPC. Besides, software majors Microsoft, Amdocs, Sasken, Samsung, Onmobile and core companies like MRPL, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Vedanta, etc. have visited our Institute for recruiting graduates and postgraduates. Amdocs (Cyprus) has offered the highest salary of Rs. 10.50 lakhs per annum to our students. A planned and documented policy for placement has helped our students to get absorbed in Dream and Super Dream companies.

The Training & Placement Centre has also been instrumental in providing meaningful vocational training through SIRE in reputed industry and academic organizations within and outside the country. During the year 2008-09, pre-final year B.Tech students were sponsored to 124 organisations, seven of them to universities abroad.
Student Activities
Along with academic excellence, participation in extra-curricular activities is essential to make a complete person out of an inexperienced teenager. Our institute encourages extra-curricular activities of all students through the Student Activity Centre. This year, we have created a new cricket ground with a well-laid pitch and a swimming pool which will start functioning from next summer.

During the year under review the Student Activity Centre has been very active. The Technical Society of the Centre has conducted the Annual National Level Student Symposium, CONFLUENCE 2009 during February 2009. Students from institutes across the country participated in the seminars, technical games and in model and software competitions.

The Literary and Cultural Society conducted the Inter-NIT Cultural Meet under the auspices of 0-INSA in March 2009. The Games & Sports Society organized the 48th Annual Sports Meet of the Institute during 31st October and 1st November. The same society also conducted the Inter-NIT Kabaddi and Cricket tournaments in the month of December. The Literary and Cultural Society, and with the Film & Music Society jointly conducted the Annual cultural festival NITRUtsav and Celebrity-Nite in March 2009. Other visible activities of the Literary and Cultural Society include publication of the bi-annual magazine, Degree-361 and the electronic newsletter "Monday Morning" which has substantially improved its quality and efficiency in delivering information about the Institute to every desktop including those of the alumni at the beginning of the week. The student activity programme has laid special emphasis on creating entrepreneurial spirit among the students. The Entrepreneurship Cell (Popularly known as E-Cell), fully managed by the students, has organized several activities including the student event "Arthayan" held during Techfest 2009.

Members of UDAAN Aeromodelling club designed a Human Powered Aircraft (HPA) with a 34 metre wing span and displayed a one-fourth model during the technical meet CONFLUENCE 2009. A heavier replica of the one-fourth model is currently on display in front of this hall. The NITR student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers, U.S.A., has been selected for BAJA ASIA 2010. The students are now testing a single seater all terrain vehicle for the competition to be held at NATRIP Racing Track, Pithampur, Indore, on 29th January. Another NITR team of the same student body has made the institute proud by winning the second prize in design category at the formula SAE-India Design Challenge 2009 organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE-India) during 11-12 December at Anna University, Chennai. They received a cash award for their success and an opportunity to construct the car for SAE India Racing Event 2011.
Staff Welfare
The technical and ministerial staff have always been a prime strength of the Institute. In recent years our Institute has taken special initiative for promoting welfare of the staff and improving their competence. Among the major steps taken in that direction are rationalization of staff structure, promotion of technical excellence, training of technical and ministerial staff and enhancement of living standards. I am proud to mention here that among all NITs, our institute is a leader in rationalizing staff designations, qualifications and pay scales. It has created a sense of pride among our staff, which has led to increased productivity and a desire to excel in the work place.

The Institute has taken proactive steps to recognise excellence among technical personnel. The NITRITE programme, standing for "NIT Rourkela Initiative for Technical Excellence" not only supports technicians to carryout innovative technical projects of their own but also rewards innovation through cash prizes. This year‘s NITRITE awards given on 15th August 2009, the Foundation Day of the Institute, have gone to Sri Somnath Das and Sri Biswanath Mukherjee. I congratulate the winners and extend my best wishes to all workers of the institute.
Research And Laboratory Facilities
To build a world-class institute, we need world-class infrastructure and collaboration with world class peers. The Department of Electrical Engineering has entered into a joint research programme with Intelligent Research Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Canada for advanced research in the field of control and automation. The same department has also set up a new research laboratory in the area of Advanced Control and Robotics. The laboratory is equipped with a good number high end control and robotics set-ups from Feedback Instruments and Quanser Corporation such as Khepra-III Mobile Robot, Flexible Robot Control Set-up, Magnetic Levitation System, Digital Servo System, PLC and Rotary Servo Control Set-up. These apparata provide ample scope to faculty and students for research in the field of automation, control and robotics.

The Department of Civil Engineering has set up a new laboratory on 'GIS and Remote Sensing‘ which will cater to the need of students and faculty of the Departments of Civil, Mining and Mechanical Engineering, Physics and Life Sciences. The Department has added A0 size scanner and plotter along with ARC GIS 9.3 and ERDAS Imagine Software for GIS and remote sensing applications. It has also procured special miniature earth pressure cells for its Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory. The department has developed two unique fully instrumented large size flumes for carrying out studies on meandering channels and river characteristics in its Fluid Mechanics Laboratory.

The Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering has developed its Thin Film and Mechanical Characterization Laboratories, added a new Abrasion Tester and has upgraded its Dynamic Universal Testing Machine. This year, the Department of Ceramic Engineering has procured five new analytical equipment: D33 meter from APC, USA, High voltage poling set up from NTPL, Kolkata, High power 1 kW Ultra-sonicator from OSCAR-Ultrasonic, Mumbai, Abbe multi wavelength refractometer from ATAGO, USA and a 1.7 Tesla electromagnet from M/s OXFORD Instruments Nanoscience, UK.

Among the major equipment added recently to the laboratories of the Department of Chemistry is a 400 MHz Brooker NMR Spectrometer using liquid helium cooled superconducting magnet. This unique instrument will put NIT, Rourkela, among the most recognised Chemistry departments of our country. The Department of Physics has procured a set of thin film coating units based on DC and RF sputtering technique, high energy ball mill, microwave furnace, low temperature characterization apparatus going down to 10K facilitating resistance measurement on both normal and superconducting samples, and a P-E loop tracer for research on dielectric and ferroelectric materials.

The Cryogenics laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been enriched by a range of basic equipment to support development of refrigeration and liquefaction machinery. This has helped us to design and build an indigenous helium purifier in collaboration with the Department of Atomic Energy. Steps have been taken for procuring a liquid nitrogen generator from Linde, UK, and for transferring a helium liquefier from TIFR, Mumbai.

A state-of-the art Multimedia Digital Language Laboratory with Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) facilities has started functioning in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. Advanced Language Learning resources have been procured to meet the growing market demand for a smart and articulate work force.
The Computing Infrastructure
I take special pride in highlighting the fact that NIT Rourkela is among the best known institutes in the country in terms of its computational capabilities. To keep pace with the changing scenario of the computing and networking world, our computer centre is continuously updating and upgrading the computing and networking infrastructure to provide improved services to its users. In addition to the 'AVAYA‘ and 'EXTREME‘ range of switches and AMP certified passive networking components, the institute local area network now includes 50 HP Procurve wireless access points and wireless bridges. With this, the wireless LAN connectivity has now been extended to the Kiran Majumdar Shaw, Homi Bhabha, Bhatnagar and Vishewsaraya Halls, A.N. Khosla conference centre and the Institute guest houses. The old Avaya switches have been replaced by new generation EXTREME switches.

Dialup network connections to faculty and staff residences have been replaced by broadband connections with the installation of ADSL modems which can support up to 100 Mbps. The institute is connected to the outside world through 40 Mbps dedicated internet link from STPI and Reliance communications which is planned to be raised to 60 Mbps. The server infrastructure is supported by fourteen IBM rack optimized servers, an IBM Blade server consisting of eight HS21 Blades and two JS21 power blades, along with 29 terabytes of storage capacity on IBM DS 3400 and FAST600 storage media.

To optimize our server utilization, we are periodically upgrading and adding new packages to our software pool. Some of the most recent additions of such resources include the latest versions of Redhat Linux, AIX, OPUtils, OP Manager, VMWare ESX, Virtual Centre and IBM Trivoli. The recent addition to the specialized and dedicated licensed software library includes upgraded versions of ALGOR FEM package, AUTODESK, ANSYS Multiphysics, Matlab, Qualnet, Aspen process simulator, VisSIM, LabVIEW and CA eTrust threat management system.
Campus Infrastructure
The NIT campus always had and now has an excellent look with regard to buildings, roads, utilities, security, cleanliness and hygiene. This has been possible by constant supervision, upgradation and development efforts put in by the entire campus community. The campus community has strived to inculcate the spirit of teamwork among the students, faculty, staff and their family members to create a cultural bond among all.

The NIT campus is a mini-township in itself with all modern facilities including its own electricity distribution and water-supply system. The demand of electricity in the academic as well as residential areas has increased over the past few years. In order to overcome the problem of power shortage, new transformers have been procured; overhead lines have given way to underground cables and the state electricity authorities have been approached for improving the quality of power supplied. The academic area, campus and hostel areas have been better illuminated. The student hostels have also received a face-lift and renovation/extension works are in progress. The construction of a swimming pool and renovation of the Student Activity Centre have been completed. We are working towards installing a central air conditioning system that will not only be economical, but will ensure appropriate environment to the sophisticated and expensive equipment that the institute is constantly acquiring. Graduates, alumni and guests may also like to step into the A.N. Khosla Conference Centre and attend a seminar in the Pranakrushna Parija Auditorium, or in a smaller hall named after legendary engineers, Padmashree Manmohan Suri and Professor Jai Krishna.

The work on academic campus extension including a new Lecture Hall Complex, Departments of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering and Biotechnology & Medical Engineering is in progress. The Bio-medical Building is ready for occupancy and the Lecture Hall complex as well as the 1000 seated Vikram Sarabhi Hall will be ready before the beginning of the coming academic session. Steps have been initiated for the second phase of construction covering the new Satish Dhawan Hall, Lecture Hall Complex–II, Mechanical Sciences Building, Golden Jubilee Building, Centre for Technology Innovation & Industrial Relations and Faculty Residence Phase–II. Other major infrastructure projects in various stages of progress include renovation of all existing staff quarters, new drinking water supply system, a new integrated sewerage system, extension of academic building, lighting of sports stadium and a series of new 33 KV/0.4 KV substations. With the support from the Government of India, we expect that during the next three years the institute shall add a billion rupees worth of civil and electrical infrastructure, thus helping NIT Rourkela serve a much larger student population. The well-furnished and aesthetically designed Guest Houses are attractions by themselves for the visitors. The surroundings make one‘s stay nice and pleasant. With these facilities in place, I can now assure the distinguished guests of today‘s function an enjoyable stay and pleasant interaction.
Distinguished Visitors
It is important that the campus community—students, staff and faculty—interact with the best minds of the world to achieve scholastic excellence. To make it possible, our institute has invited numerous distinguished visitors during the past academic year.

Padma Bibhusan Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Honourable Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Director, NIAS Bangalore, Former Chairman of ISRO, Space commission and Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Space, visited this institute as the Chief Guest of the last Convocation. Dr. Thirumalachari Ramasami, Secretary to Government of India, Department of Science and Technology visited NIT and discussed policies and programmes of DST for attracting talent to careers in science, for rejuvenating research in universities, for stepping up international S&T cooperation and to ensure development of public-private partnership in R&D sector. Prof. J.B. Joshi, internationally acclaimed chemical engineer, Director, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, was the chief guest in the 48th Foundation Day celebration and delivered the second Foundation Day Lecture, entitled "Generation of National Wealth through Education and Research". His lecture sent a clear message to the faculty and student community that the time has come for directing the R&D resources of our institute to solution of major industrial problems.

A team of senior scientists from the Department of Atomic Energy headed by Dr. L.N. Gantayet and Dr. H.S. Kushwaha visited NIT, Rourkela to develop joint R&D projects between DAE laboratories and our institute. Up to 10 new projects in the area of Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Handling Systems are expected to be initiated during the current academic year. Such projects will provide opportunities to students to work on real-life problems of national and international relevance. An MoU between the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and NIT, Rourkela, has also been signed to establish the DAE Graduate Fellowship Scheme in various engineering disciplines at NIT Rourkela.

Two Hungarian scholars, Professor Kalman Liptai and Professor Laszlo Szalay of the University of West Hungary visited us during November 2009 to interact with faculty members in the Department of Mathematics on various aspects of Number Theory. Other distinguished visitors include Prof. B.K. Mishra, Director, IIMT, Bhubaneswar, Prof. A.K. Tripathy, Former Director General, CPRI, Bangalore, both alumni of this institute, Dr. Pitamber Mahanandia FB Chemie, Eduard-Zintl-Institut for Nanomaterials, Technical University, Germany, Prof. Ajay Dalei, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada and Dr. Dinesh K. Agarwal, Director, Microwave Processing and Engineering Center, Pennsylvania State University.

The Institute was also honoured by the visit of the legendery astrophysicist Padma Vibhusan Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, the Odissi maestro Padmasri Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and the internationally acclaimed sand artist Sri Sudarshan Pattnaik.
Our Alumni
Our alumni have played a major role in building the positive image of the institute in India and abroad. To establish a stronger link between the alumni and the institute, we have set up the Centre for Alumni Relations and Resource Generation, which has just been given its own building. Alumni from all over the world are enthusiastic in supporting the institute on a variety of beneficial but non-conventional activities, which are not ordinarily supported form Government grants. The electronic Directory of NIT Rourkela Alumni has now been updated and more than 55% of the alumni have put in there the latest information about them. The institute is now able to reach out to its alumni through the electronic media.

Associations of alumni located around the world are becoming increasingly active not only in fostering brotherhood among their own members but also in networking with other alumni groups. The NIT Rourkela Alumni Association, which started essentially as a brotherhood of REC alumni located in Rourkela area, is now making effort to reach out to alumni around the globe. Introduction of electronic ballot for election of office bearers is an welcome step. I hope a day will come, and it will come soon, when all alumni, irrespective of their physical location, will not only contribute their efforts for growth of the institute, but will do so as equal functionaries of the alumni association.

There is an everlasting bond between the alumni and the alma mater. On 19th December 2009, a large number of our 1969 batch alumni gathered on the campus with their families to celebrate the 40th year of their graduation. On the same day, NIT, Rourkela alumni of Delhi area held a major congregation not only to share nostalgic moments of the past and to plan future gatherings but also to work out strategies for ensuring exponential growth of the institute. Every year our alumni celebrate the Silver Jubilee of their graduation in the campus and this year it was the turn of 1984 batch. A pleasant outcome of this years‘ alumni meet is the unequivocal resolve of the members to give back to the institute a portion of what the REC/NIT education has given them, so that new generations of NITians can continue to lead the nation.

Whether it is in the technical or in managerial field, many of our alumni have reached top positions in corporations and universities around the world. They have made significant contribution across diverse portfolios, from space propulsion to Khadi and village industries, and from USA to Finland.

Padmashree N.R. Mohanty, former Chairman, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Er C. P. Gurnani, CEO Mahindra-Satyam, Shri Chittaranjan Pradhan, former CMD of NALCO, Prof. Damodar Acharya, Director IIT, Kharagpur, Dr. Surya N Mahapatra CEO of Quest Diagnostics, USA, a Fortune 500 company, Sri S.S. Mohanty, Executive Director Rourkela Steel Plant, Dr. Prakash Chandra Patnaik, Director, Institute of Aerospace Research (IAR) National Research Council Canada and Sri Sukhendu Bikash Mishra, microalloy pioneer and founder of the Minex Metallurgical Company, Sri Ajit samal Senior Vice President, Vedanta Group, Sri Ashok Tripathy former Director General of CPRI, Sri Jnana Ranjan Dash former Vice President of Oracle Corporation and many many successful alumni, have made this institute really proud of its own contribution to the nation.

I am also happy to announce that for the first time, the Board of Governors of NIT Rourkela has decided to recognise the achievement of our alumni by bestowing the Distinguished Alumnus Award every year on its outstanding alumni. The recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award-2009 are Padmashree N. R. Mohanty, Prof. Damodar Acharya and Sri Sukhendu Bikash Mishra. I am grateful to them for accepting our invitation and coming here today in spite of their massive time commitment in their own organisations. I am confident that our distinguished alumni will continue to take leading role in national and international area.

Sri Chitta Ranjan Pradhan, a 1970 batch alumnus in Electrical Engg, was appointed Chairman cum Managing Director of NALCO, one of the largest alumninum manufactures of the world. Sri Anshuman Das, 1976 batch graduate in Mechanical Engineering has been appointed Director (Commercial) and Mr. Prasanta Kumar Padhi, 1974 batch alumnus in Mechanical Engineering Director (Projects & Technical) of the same company. Sri Sahadev Khatua, a 1984 batch of B. E. in Civil Engineering has become Chief Engineer and Head of the Teesta Low Dam Project Stage-III in West Bengal under National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd. Sri Ashutosh Dutta, 1985 batch graduate in Electrical Engineering has been selected for the MGA Leadership Award of IEEE. Sri Fakir Charan Mohanty, a 1971 graduate in Chemical Engineering and MD, Poly Refractory (P) Ltd, Rourkela has been honoured with the "National Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises" by the Ministry of MSME, Govt of India.

Prof Deba Kumar Tripathy of the 1968 batch Mechanical Engineering from REC has taken over as the first Vice Chancellor of the Veer Surendra Sae University of Technology, Burla and Sri Samarendra Roychaudhury of the 1976 batch has been appointed as Director (Commercial) of ONGC Videsh Ltd. the international petroleum company of India. Dr. Ranjan Das, a 1998 batch Ceramic engineer and CEO of Y-Carbon, USA has received the Young Alumni Entrepreneur Award from Drexel University Alumni Association, USA. His company has been recognized by the R&D Magazine with the prestigious R&D 100 award for its revolutionary technology to provide the world with clean energy, safe drinking water and improved health care. Dr. Das has found a place in the TR-35 list of young innovators of the world for the year 2009 for developing nanoporous carbon that will help power hybrid cars.

Dr. Prakash Chandra Patnaik, 1976 batch B. E. in Metallurgy has been appointed to the Research Technology Organisation (RTO) of NATO and to the Applied Vehicle Technology (AVT) Panel. He is the Director of the Institute of Aerospace Research (IAR) of the National Research Council Canada where he is also the Chief Defence Scientist of IAR-NRC. In July 2009 he has received the fellowship of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Sri C. P. Gurnani of the 1981 batch of Chemical Engineering currently heading Tech Mahindra international operations has been appointed as the CEO of Mahindra Satyam. Dr. Surya Mohapatra, a 1971 graduate in Electrical Engineering CEO of Quest Diagnostics USA has secured the fifth position in the Forbes list of most successful CEOs of the world. Prof. Barada Kanta Mishra (B.E. Metallurgical Engineering 1981), Director Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology Bhubaneswar and Dr. N. Srikanth (B.E. Metallurgical Engineering 1982) Director of National Metallurgical Laboratory Jamshedpur have provided leadership to CSIR, one of the world‘s largest scientific organisations.

Dr. Ajay Kumar Agarwal, a metallurgical engineer of the class of 1989 has received the "National Technology Award-2009", Singapore‘s highest honour to outstanding research scientists and engineers for pioneering a novel transistor architecture and a new class of electronic bio sensors based on Silicon nanowires.

Among other NITR alumni who have earned fame in 2009 are Sri Maheswar Sahu, 1977 batch Electrical engineer who has been appointed the Principal Secretary, Dept of Industries and Mines to the Government of Gujarat, Sri Rabindra Nath Nayak of the 1977 class of Electrical Engineering who has been appointed Director (Operations) of Power Grid Corporation of India, and Sri Susanta Kumar Nath, a 1989 batch Mechanical engineer and presently serving as Additional Commissioner of Police who has bagged the Prestigious President‘s Medal on 15th Aug, 2009. Dr. Debi Prasad Das, who received Ph.D. in Electronics Engineering from NIT Rourkela received CSIR Young Scientist Award for the year 2009.
Graduates Of The Year
In this Convocation we are going to confer the much valued degrees of NIT Rourkela on 326 B.Tech. , 27 M.Sc., 30 MCA, 153 M.Tech., 20 M.Tech. (by Research) and 12 Ph.D. students. I feel honoured to announce the names of the students who, as recipients of Gold Medals for academic excellence, have made their alma mater really proud of their performance. I personally congratulate the two institute Gold Medal winners: Sri Bineet Mishra of the Department of Electronics & Communication Engineering, the Best Graduate of the year and Miss Indira Priyadarsini Bhanja of the Department of Civil Engineering, the Best Post Graduate. I also congratulate Sri Bidhan Kumar Pradhan a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engg., for winning the coveted Professor Bhubaneswar Behera Gold Medal for the Best All rounder of the 2009 undergraduate batch and Miss Shivani Mittal a graduate of the Department of Electrical Engineering, who has been conferred the Institute Gold Medal for the Best B. Tech. Project of 2009. I also congratulate the winners of the silver medals, the winners of the Endowment prizes and all graduating students on successful completion of their mission of obtaining well deserved degrees from this wonderful Institution. On behalf of the Institute, I offer my heartiest congratulations to all the graduating students and medal winners. I hope the knowledge and training you have received from this institute will empower you to overcome all challenges in your future endeavours.

Parents and family members of the degree recipients deserve our congratulations for providing encouragement, support and inspiration to these students. I share this moment of joy and pride with the parents who are present in the hall or waiting eagerly a thousand kilometers away for a phone call from their worthy children. Your child is a special person who has proven his or her worth by earning a degree from this prestigious institution. This degree, however, confers on him/her a special responsibility to lead the nation on the path of progress. The degree he received will open up a number of opportunities enabling him to see the wider horizons of life. We shall all be looking forward to his/her achievement in future. NIT Rourkela is an institution where every faculty, staff and student achieves his potential. We expect our graduates and postgraduates to make the same thing possible for millions of people around the world through their honesty, hard work, team spirit and concern for the under privileged.

The students graduating from prestigious engineering institutions during this decade are a special lot. They are entering the job market when our country is poised for quantum growth in technological capabilities and industrial output. Unlike many of their predecessors they will face global competition. They will play a significant role in the industrial scenario not only of our nation but of the whole world. They will have to perform a multitude of tasks at their work places which they were not taught in the Institute. In this age of competition they have to continuously work hard and learn new skills to be successful in their fields. Though there may be many ups and downs, I am confident that our students will have the capability and the dedication to stand up to the situation and do their bit in creating the new India.

Before closing this report, I take the liberty of conveying a personal thought that most NITians share with me. Engineering institutes are places where faculty and technicians earn their living by marketing the principles and methods of technology. NIT, Rourkela is an institute where TECHNOLOGY is a WAY OF LIFE, not merely a source of livelihood. Through the coveted NIT certificate, I charge every recipient of the degree with the responsibility of spreading the religion of technology among the population of our vast country, and beyond.
Jai Hind

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Convocation address at NIT, Rourkela Jan, 16, 2010 by APJ Kalam ex presiednt of India

7th Convocation Address to the Students of NIT Rourkela
16/Jan/2010 : Rourkela

Entering into knowledge society

I am delighted to participate in the 7th Convocation of NIT Rourkela in this famous Steel city. I congratulate all the graduating students for their academic performance and the faculty members for shaping the young minds. My greetings to Chairman Board of Governors, Director, Faculty Members, Staff and Students of NIT Rourkela.

NIT Rourkela – Mission

Dear friends, I was going through the mission which this institute has set for itself. It states “Every faculty, staff and student of NIT Rourkela is passionately committed to the mission of making India a world leader in technology and science, and nurtures this commitment with honesty, hard work and team spirit.” This is indeed a great vision which the institute has evolved for all its members and my best wishes to you all for its achievement.

During the last five decades, NIT Rourkela has contributed significantly to the techno-economic growth of the country by providing quality human resource who are functioning in the industry in various capacities both in India and abroad. Large number of alumni of NIT Rourkela have become entrepreneurs, and thus employment generators. The government of India has recognized the institute as a premier institution of repute. The modernization of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering departments and Computer Science and Electronics departments will substantially enhance the research capability of the institute. I congratulate the pioneers both present and past who have strived hard for laying a robust foundation for technical education in this institute. Today, I would like to talk on the topic “Entering into knowledge society”.

Friends, when I see you all graduating today, I was thinking what thoughts I can share with you. First and foremost, any establishment, any organization, you will be joining or you create, your own enterprise becoming an employment generator, always one demand that will come in front of you, that is: the experience of system design, system integration, and system management of the assignment or the task to be undertaken by you. I would like to present my experience of learning system design, system integration and system management while I was studying aeronautical engineering in MIT, Chennai, (1954-57) during the third year of my course.

Learning integrated system design

I was assigned a project to design a low-level attack aircraft together with six other colleagues. I was given the responsibility of system design and system integration by integrating the team members. Also, I was responsible for aerodynamic and structural design of the project. The other five of my team took up the design of propulsion, control, guidance, avionics and instrumentation of the aircraft. My design teacher Prof. Srinivasan, the then Director of MIT, was our guide. He reviewed the project and declared my work to be gloomy and disappointing. He didn’t lend an ear to my difficulties in bringing together data base from multiple designers. I asked for a month’s time to complete the task, since I had to get the inputs from five of my colleagues without which I cannot complete the system design. Prof. Srinivasan told me "Look, young man, today is Friday afternoon. I give you three days time. If by Monday morning I don’t get the configuration design, your scholarship will be stopped." I had a jolt in my life, as scholarship was my lifeline, without which I cannot continue with my studies. There was no other way out but to finish the task. My team felt the need for working together round the clock. We didn’t sleep that night, working on the drawing board skipping our dinner. On Saturday, I took just an hour’s break. On Sunday morning, I was near completion, when I felt someone’s presence in my laboratory.
It was Prof. Srinivasan studying my progress. After looking at my work, he patted and hugged me affectionately. He had words of appreciation: "I knew I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline. You have done great job in system design”.

Through this review mechanism Prof Srinivasan, really injected the necessity of understanding the value of time by each team member and brought out engineering education has to lead system design, system integration and system management. I realized that if something is at stake, the human minds get ignited and the working capacity gets enhanced manifold. That’s what exactly happened. This is one of the techniques of building talent. The message is that young in the organization, whatever is their specialization, be trained to systems approach and projects, which will prepare them for new products, innovation and undertaking higher organizational responsibilities. Friends you should get ready to acquire knowledge in an integrated way for using multiple disciplines towards product development and its management.

The second aspect, I would like to discuss is, what type of India you are going to see within the next ten years. What are the challenges you will undertake and participate? I am going to visualize the type of India in the year 2020, so that you can build the capacities to participate in this movement.

Distinctive Profile of India by 2020

1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has reduced to a thin line.
2. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
3.A Nation where agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony.
4. A Nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.
5. A Nation, which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists, and investors.
6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all.
7. A Nation where the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption free.
8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated.
9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
10. A Nation that is one of the best places to live in and is proud of its leadership.

Integrated Action for developed India

To achieve the distinctive profile of India, we have the mission of transforming India into a developed nation. We have identified five areas where India has a core competence for integrated action:

(1)Agriculture and food processing

(2) Education and Healthcare

(3) Information and Communication Technology

(4) Reliable and Quality Electric power, Surface transport and Infrastructure for all parts of the country.

(5) Self-reliance in critical technologies.

These five areas are closely inter-related and if progressed in a coordinated way, will lead to food, economic and national security.

I have given you, how you have to transform yourself to meet the professional challenges as system technologist and contribute in realizing any one or more of the ten pillars, I have described.

Mission in life

While entering into such type of mission in life, you need unique traits for achieving success in your missions.

First of all, you have to have an aim in life. You have to set a goal.

Second one, you have to acquire knowledge continuously as a life-long autonomous learner.
Third you have to put in honest hard work and fourth is: you have to have perseverance in life. Here I would like to give an example of a-visually challenged young boy, who was not deterred by his physical challenge.

I can do it.

Friends, when I was the President of India, on 28 Aug 2006, I met the group of tribal students from Lead India 2020 movement. I asked all of them one question: “What you want to become?” Out of many responses,
one visually challenged boy studying IX class got up. His name is Srikanth, he answered me "I will become visually Challenged first President of India". I was very happy to see his vision and ambition.
Small aim is a crime. Hence, I congratulated him to realize his vision and told him to work for realizing the vision.

There after he worked hard got 90% in Xth class and 96 % in intermediate and he set a goal to study Engineering in MIT, Boston USA. His relentless hard work not only secured seat but he got full fee waiver from MIT, Boston. Srikanth’s achievement has brought changes in many change agents of Lead India 2020 and inspired to set high vision. Lead India 2020 training has set a high vision for every student who undergoes the training process. Seeing this impact of Lead India 2020 training, GE volunteers have funded Mr. Srikanth for his
travel to USA. Today he is pursuing his studies at MIT, Boston. When the GE offered him a job on his completion of graduation, he told them that he would certainly come back to GE, if I couldn’t become the
President of India. What a confidence that boy has amidst of difficulty and the challenges in his life by being visually challenged. What a great transformation that has brought into a visually challenged boy’s life by Lead India 2020 movement through value based education intervention.

Diligent and sincere evaluation

Another important quality is, the ability to work with knowledge acquisition constantly for an aim and convert it into a certain outcome. To achieve this, you will need to constantly practice and evaluate your own actions and ideas at all moments. Only when they pass the most rigorous and honest tests, you can be certain of the
outcomes of every action you take. This would require great diligence and sincerity in all your efforts. Let me give you an example. When Lockheed introduced the Tristar 1011 plane, the company decided to determine the efficiency and safety of the plane by a process of rigorous tests. These evaluations lasted for 18 months and cost more than $1.5 Billion, putting the various parts of the plane through a simulation stress equivalent to 36,000 flights which is equivalent to almost 100 years of service. It was only when the plane passed all these tests, without a single malfunction, was the aircraft given the seal of approval. Dear students, all of you must derive a lesson from this example – practice and constant evaluation will make your ideas and actions perfect and inject the self confidence in you that “I can do it”.

Now I would like to share with you the life of two great personalities who could combat all the challenges and succeed in their mission through their creativity and passion.

Birth of Creativity in a difficult situation

Mario Capecchi had a difficult and challenging childhood. For nearly four years, Capecchi lived with his mother in a chalet in the Italian Alps. When World War II broke out, his mother, along with other Bohemians, was sent to Dachau as a political prisoner. Anticipating her arrest by the Gestapo, she had sold all her possessions and given
the money to friends to help raise her son on their farm. In the farm, he had to grow own wheat, harvest; take it to miller to be ground. Then, the money which his mother left for him ran out and at the age of four and half years, he started sometimes living in the streets, sometimes joining gangs of other homeless children, sometimes living in orphanages and most of the time hungry. He spent the last year in the city of Reggio Emelia, hospitalized for malnutrition where his mother found him on his ninth birthday after a year of searching.
Within weeks, the Capecchi and his mother sailed to America to join his uncle and aunt.

He started his 3rd grade schooling afresh over there and started his education, interested in sports, studied political science. But he didn’t find interesting and changed into science, became a mathematics graduate in 1961 with a double major in Physics and Chemistry. Although he really liked Physics, its elegance and simplicity, he switched to molecular biology in graduate school, on the advice of James D Watson, who advised him that he should not be bothered about small things, since such pursuits are likely to produce only small answers.

His objective was to do gene targeting. The experiments started in 1980 and by 1984, Capecchi had clear success. Three years later, he applied the technology to mice. In 1989, he developed the first mice with targeted mutations. The technology created by Doctor Capecchi allows researchers to create specific gene mutations anywhere they choose in the genetic code of a mouse. By manipulating gene sequences in this way, researchers are able to mimic human disease conditions on animal subjects. What the research of Mario Capecchi means for human health is nothing short of amazing, his work with mice could lead to cures for Alzheimer’s disease or even Cancer. The innovations in genetics that Mario Capecchi achieved won him the Nobel Prize in 2007.

Noble laureate Capecchi life indeed reveals: -

“When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.”

A genius well ahead of time: Failure did not deter him

Ramanujan, born and raised in Erode, Tamil Nadu, first encountered formal mathematics at the age of ten. He demonstrated a natural ability at mathematics, and was given books on advanced trigonometry by S. L. Loney. He mastered this book by age thirteen, and even discovered theorems of his own. He demonstrated unusual mathematical skills at school, winning many awards. By the age of seventeen, Ramanujan was conducting his own mathematical research on Bernoulli numbers and the Euler–Mascheroni constant. He received a scholarship to study at Government College in Kumbakonam. He failed his non-mathematical coursework, and lost his scholarship. Srinivasa Ramanujan lived only for 33 years and did not have formal higher education or means of living. Yet, his inexhaustible spirit and love for his subject made him contribute to the treasure houses of mathematical research – some of which are still under serious study and engaging all-available world mathematicians’ efforts to establish formal proofs. Ramanujan was a unique Indian genius who could melt the heart of the most hardened and outstanding Cambridge mathematician Prof G H Hardy. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that it was Prof. Hardy who discovered Ramanujan for the world. Professor Hardy rated
various geniuses on a scale of 100. While most of the mathematicians got a rating of around 30 with rare exceptions reaching to 60, Ramanujan got a rating of 100. There cannot be any better tribute to either Ramanujan or to Indian heritage. His works cover vast areas including Prime Numbers, Hyper geometric Series, Modular Functions, Elliptic Functions, Mock Theta Functions, even magic squares, apart from serious side works on geometry of ellipses, squaring the circle etc. One of the tributes to Ramanujan says that, ‘every Integer is a
personal friend of Ramanujan’. He was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society (F R S) in 1918.

Ramanujan used to say “An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God”. For him the understanding of numbers was a process of spiritual revelation and connection. In his investigations into pure mathematics, he drew extraordinary conclusions that mystified his colleagues, but were usually proven, eventually, to be right. He opened a universe of theory that still today is reaping applications. The landscape of the infinite was to Ramanujan a reality of both mathematics and spirit. His love for numbers led Ramanujan to number theory. Despite being affected by chronic health problems, he was breathing Mathematics throughout his short life and his genius was recognized internationally. So friends you saw, how great creative minds, gave problem to the problems to succeed through the instrument of knowledge.

Dear friends, let me take you to the type of society we are entering and challenges.

The knowledge society in 21st century

The world in the 21st century will be a knowledge based society with multiple opportunities. I was reading a book, “Empires of the Mind” by Denis Waitley. This book gives, what type of the new world which we are facing now? What was yesterday and what is today. I have modified certain points of the author to suit our conditions. I have also added a third line which relates to action of educational institutes.

It specially says that “what worked yesterday, won’t work today”.

1.Yesterday – natural resources defined power
Today - knowledge is power
Educational Institutions will be a powerhouse for knowledge

2.Yesterday - Hierarchy was the model
Today- synergy is the mandate
Educational Institutions will be enabler of intersection of mutiple faculties towards mission goals

3.Yesterday – leaders commanded and controlled
Today – leaders empower and coach
Potential Leaders will be empowered through exposure to the needs of sustainable development

4.Yesterday - shareholders came first
Today – customers come first
Education should inculcate sensitivity to “customer” needs

5.Yesterday - employees took order
Today – teams make decision
Educational Institutions can inject team spirit

6.Yesterday - seniority signified status
Today – creativity drive status
Educational Institutions is the breeding environment for creativity

7.Yesterday – production determined availability
Today – Competitiveness is the key
Competitiveness is powered by research and university has to have the motto of “teaching-research-teaching”

8.Yesterday - value was extra
Today – value is everything
Objective Value judgment to be introduced in education

9.Yesterday – everyone was a competitor
Today – everyone is a customer
Educated customer is also from Educational Institutions

10.Yesterday - profits were earned through expediency
Today – Work with integrity and succeed with integrity.
Education with value system is the need of the hour

I am sure, the curriculum and the method of teaching in the institute has been designed to cater for the needs for 21st knowledge society.


Friends, finally I would like to ask you, what would you like to be remembered for? You have to evolve yourself and shape your life. You should write it on a page. That page may be a very important page in the book of human history. And you will be remembered for creating that one page in the history of the nation – whether that page is the page of invention, the page of innovation or the page of discovery or the page of creating societal change or a page of removing the poverty through development of PURA complexes (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Area) any part of the country or the page of fighting injustice.
I will be happy if you could write this page and mail it to me (

With these words, I once again congratulate the graduating students. My best wishes to all the members of NIT Rourkela success in the mission of developing quality technological human resource for the nation.

May God bless you.

Eight point Oath for Graduating Students

1. Engineering and Technology is a life time mission. I will work, work and work and succeed.
2.Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is what process or product I can innovate, invent or discover.
3. I will always remember that “Let not my winged days, be spent in vain”.
4. I realize I have to set a great technological goal that will lead me to think high, work & persevere to realize the goal.
5. My greatest friends will be great scientific and technological minds, good teachers and good books.
6. I firmly believe that no problem can defeat me; I will become the captain of the problem, defeat the problem and succeed.
7. I will work and work for removing the problems faced by planet earth in the areas of water, energy, habitat, waste management and environment through the application of science and technology.
8. My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.

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Arise Awake Stop not till the goal is reached. - Swami Vivekananda Swami ji is my inspiration, not as a monk but as a social reformer and for his universal-ism.