Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Need to create strong innovation culture in India: Pranab Mukherjee

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New Delhi : President Pranab Mukherjee said that innovation was the currency of the future and emphasized on the need for creating strong innovation culture in India.

“Innovation is the currency of the future. Innovation converts research into wealth. Unless we recognize this reality and start working in a focused manner on creating a strong innovation culture in our country now, we will be left behind in the march to modernity,” Mukherjee said addressing the Visitor’s Conference at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The first three-day Visitor’s Conference commenced on Wednesday with an interactive session between industry and academia, exchange of 44 MoUs and lectures by eminent people.

Speaking after witnessing the exchange of MoUs, Mukherjee said his constant refrain that India cannot aspire to be a world power without having a single world-class university has found resonance among the institutions.

He said the institutions have now started looking at the international ranking processes in a more proactive and systematic manner.

“If we provide enough funds to top 10 to 15 institutions for the next 4-5 years, these institutions will certainly storm into the top 100 of global academic rankings within next few years,” he said.

The president said the National Institutional Rankings Framework put in place by the human resource development ministry with an India-centric approach would further help the institutions to compete nationally and globally.

“Apart from giving the nation, the institutions, its students and its alumni a sense of pride, a high rank can help attract quality faculty and meritorious students, open fresh avenues of growth and placement for students, and provide a benchmark for continuous improvement in standards,” he said.

The president said brilliant minds, captains of industry and academic leaders of 114 central institutions have come together on a common platform to deliberate on issues concerning the higher education sector for the first time here.

Mukherjee said a strong inter-linkage between industry and academia was a critical component for developing the educational and industrial eco-systems.

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Indian President Launches Pulse Polio Programme for 2019

He applauded the efforts of thousands of volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for tireless work for keeping the country polio-free

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Polio
A health worker gives polio vaccine to a girl in Lahore, Pakistan. VOA

President Ram Nath Kovind, here on Saturday, launched the 2019 pulse polio programme by administering polio drops to children below five years at the Rahstrapati Bhawan.

The launch was organised on the eve of the National Immunisation Day, which will be observed on Sunday.

“Over 17 crore children below five years will be administered polio drops as part of the government drive to support polio eradication programme,” said a release.

Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, also present on the occasion, said the Universal Immunisation Programme was focusing on protecting children from diseases and has introduced several new vaccines, like pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, rotavirus vaccine and measles-rubella vaccine.

“To provide additional protection to the children, the government has also introduced the injectable inactivated polio vaccine in the routine immunisation programme,” Nadda said.

Polio, afghanistan
A boy receives polio vaccination drops during an anti-polio campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

Pointing out that the government was making all efforts to protect children from diseases, he said the vaccines under the programme must reach the last child of the country.

“Along with the Universal Immunisation Programme, we have also launched the Mission Indradhanush to achieve more than 90 per cent immunisation coverage. Over 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through the Mission Indradhanush drives,” Nadda said.

Strengthening of the immunisation programme has contributed to the decline of infant mortality from 39 per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 32 in 2017, he added.

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Nadda also appreciated the efforts of state governments and supporting organisations, like the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International, for strengthening the polio programme as well as other immunisation initiatives.

He applauded the efforts of thousands of volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for tireless work for keeping the country polio-free. (IANS)