Friday, December 02, 2005

Look beyond IT, Kalam tells researchers

Chennai, PTI:

Painting a grim picture where one quarter of the world's population does not have safe drinking water, President A P J Abdul Kalam today asked researchers in the country to look beyond IT to areas like water conservation and farm engineering.

"Of the projected eight billion population of the world by 2025, one fourth would not have access to safe drinking water or would not have water at all. Cost effective desalination plants alone can solve the problem and Indian universities should conduct research on this," he said during a lecture on 'Technical Education and National Development' at Anna University here.

He told the institution, where he was a teacher before becoming President, that institutions should see beyond information technology and concentrate on evolving courses in hydraulic water conservation and farm engineering. These branches also offered more employment opportunities, he said.

Another area of concern was transmission losses faced by the power sector, he said adding that sometimes "there are geniune line losses and most of the time, unauthorised losses" in an obvious reference to power thefts.

He suggested creation of a "knowledge grid" connecting the universities by a high bandwidth fibre cable network so that there were exchange of views on the curriculam among the the universities.

In the age of global competation in education, the Indian universities should offer competative courses, which were "cost effective and had quality", he said. This alone would make them withstand the competition, he added.

Kalam said the universities should develop new entreprenuers in the country.

The industries and the science laboratories should also help them with the expertise and research, he asserted.

Wasteland farming was one potential area of creating more employment opportunities and jethropa farming, which is a source for biofuel, should be encouraged in a big way, he said.

At the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, he had undertaken jethropa cultivation and was planning to invite farmers from all over the country to show them the income potential from it, Kalam said.

He said by 2007, several countries would be joining together to launch a satellite exclusively for youth. This would help in exchanging views among the youth in various countries, he said.



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