Fundamentals of our economy strong: President

Bhubaneswar, Sep 7 (IANS) The fundamentals of our economy remain strong though growth has slowed down in recent times, President Pranab Mukherjee said here Saturday before winding up his two-day Odisha trip.

"Steps are being taken to contain fiscal deficit and boost industrial investment. I am confident of our economic growth being restored to the high levels seen in the past," he said at the convocation ceremony of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bhubaneswar.

Earlier in the day, addressing the second convocation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bhubaneswar, he called for innovative changes in India's education system to reclaim its lost glory.

He said, "Improvement in our academic system calls for innovative changes. Our examination system must incorporate modern methods of evaluation. Top quality teachers must be recruited."

Mukherjee said, "A spirit of competition amongst universities must be infused. Academic regulation must be streamlined to create a more flexible, transparent and student-friendly education system."

The president also said the country's efforts at expanding the higher education infrastructure had yielded positive results but very few academic institutions in the country can claim global rankings due to lack of quality.

He pointed out: "As per international ranking, there is not a single Indian university, including the IITs, amongst the top 200 universities in the world."

Mukherjee said, "Leading universities of the West and universities even in countries like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are ranked higher than any Indian institution."

The president added, "In the past, for about 1,800 years beginning in the sixth century BC, we had an unbeatable higher education system represented by universities like Takshila, Nalanda, Vikramshila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri.

"They were a magnet for knowledge seekers from distant places. But today, we languish behind many nations," he rued.

Mukherjee arrived in Bhubaneswar Friday evening and proceeded to the temple town of Puri, about 55 km from here, where he spent the night at the Raj Bhavan.

In the evening he visited the beach and saw a sand sculpture created by internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik.

The president offered prayers at the Jagannath temple, Puri early Saturday before returning to Bhubaneswar.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »