Foundation Day @ IITD

The Foundation Day of IIT Delhi was celebrated on Monday by felicitating ten faculty members for excellence in teaching followed by a stimulating lecture on the engineering landscape of the country, the challenges and the ways to address them.

Dr. Harish Hande, social entrepreneur, and co-founder of SELCO India gave the Foundation Day Lecture --- What does engineering mean for India and are we there?

Delivering the Foundation Day lecture, Dr Hande said that India was a country that had huge problems but at the same time there were ample opportunities. Urging the students to go to the fields and create solutions he said: " There is a need to go to the grassroot level of the problem. We should look at India as a country where you can innovate, where the poor are treated as partners and not beneficiaries."

In 2017, he said 1% of India’s population earned 75% of the wealth. However, the poorest 67 crore people saw their income increase by nearly 1%. "While the reasons might be many, the primary one being not able to solve the basic problems of the poor in a holistic and inclusive manner: many of these being related to finance and technology. With so many elite engineering schools in the country - why has it not happened? Is it because a lot of smart students enter engineering schools as a stepping stone to other forms of careers but not as engineers. Where have we gone wrong?," said Dr Hande, a graduate from the IIT, Kharagpur and a Masters and PhD from University of Massachusetts, US.

Dr Hande had returned to India to start SELCO in 1994-95 after experiencing benefits of solar energy in rural areas of the Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. He is recognized as a pioneer of rural energy service across the globe. He and his company have received many national and international awards including the Ashden award (2005 and 2007), The Tech Museum Award (2005), Khemka Social entrepreneur of the year 2007, the Financial Times – Arcelor Mittal Boldness in Business award 2009, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, 2018.

Stressing on the need to introduce engineering problems in the IIT courses he said that there were very few who actually stayed back in core engineering. "The challenge for the engineers is to know how to come about with products and this is why it is of paramount importance that the students retain their core engineering skills."

Maintaining that the barriers need to be broken Dr Hande said:"There are 3 million people in the world who survive on less than a dollar a day. India is the country that can actively show innovations. But we need to kill the arrogance of attitude. The divide needs to be broken."

"There are so many innovations in the rural areas. Engineers need to think differently. Engineering is not about technology. It is about finance, about sound dynamics. We have to create a path for filtering thought process in engineering, create a technically sound product that matches the cash flow. In a nutshell, we need to re-engineer the way we look at engineering and the courses should be redesigned "

Earlier in his welcome address institute director, Prof V Ramgopal Rao said that the Foundation Day was a great occasion to recognize the talent of the teachers.

Before the Foundation Day Lecture, the awards for Excellence in Teaching for the II Semester 2016-17 and I Semester, 2017-18 were given away. Those who were felicitated included Prof. Arpan Kumar Kar (DMS), Prof.ManojDatta (Civil) Prof. Deepak U Patil (EE), Prof. N. Shravan Kumar (Maths), Prof. Amit Priyadarshi (Maths), Prof. Amlendu Kumar Dubey (DMS), Prof. Shashank Bishnoi (Civil), Prof. Abhijit Ramchandra Abhyankar (EE), Prof. Dalip Singh Mehta (Physics) and Prof.SampaSaha (CPSE)