President Pranab Mukherjee today said India is fast emerging as a great economic power with the country becoming the third largest economy in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
“The growth rate our country enjoys is second only to China among the major economies in the world. In the six of the last nine years, we managed a growth rate in excess of 8 per cent. Though the growth rate have slightly contracted since 2010-11, in the face of the global economic meltdown, India has been able to withstand the crisis and has shown a remarkable resilience,” the President said while delivering his convocation address at the Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidalaya at Haridwar.
Mukherjee also noted that it is the growth of education in India which is a key factor responsible for the resilience, which in turn helps skilled workforce to contribute directly to the nation’s output.
In the field of higher education, India has 659 degree awarding institutions and 33,023 colleges, he said. At the end of the Eleventh Five Year Plan period, there were a total of 152 central institutions awarding degrees.
The number of such institutions have increased by 65 during the Eleventh Plan period of 2007 to 2012, he said adding this has indeed contributed towards increasing productivity of our work force.
The President said the Indian Institute of Technologies and the Indian Institute of Managements have created benchmark in technical and management education in the country and are held in high esteem internationally. It is, thus, heartening to note the number of IITs has increased from 7 in 2006-07 to 15 in 2011-12, and the number of IIMs has increased from 6 to 13 over this period, he said. The total number of degree awarding Institutions- Central, State and Private- has increased by 272 over the Eleventh Plan period. Evidently, the enrolment to higher education institutions in the country has also increased, from 1.39 crore in 2006-07 to 2.18 crore in 2011-12, which is the terminal year of the Eleventh Five Year Plan, Mukherjee said.
"Notwithstanding our achievements, we have to upgrade the standard of higher education. The country lacks behind in terms of research and innovation. The total number of patent applications filed by Indians in 2010 was close to only six thousand, which pales in comparison to over 3 lakh applications filed by Chinese, around 1.7 lakh filed by German, 4.64 lakh filed by Japanese, and 4.2 lakh filed by Americans. The number of applications for patent filed by an Indian comprised only 0.30% of the total applications filed in the world, he said.