Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurates BITS Pilani in Kalyan | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurates BITS Pilani in Kalyan

Feb 25, 2024 08:10 AM IST

Referring to the latest budget announcement, where ₹1 lakh crore was allocated for a special purpose vehicle dedicated to funding research and development activities, she stated that this funding is intended to support research initiatives, including those in the private sector

Kalyan: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said she was impressed by the initiatives taken by Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani in encouraging inter-disciplinary research in semiconductors and generative AI.

Sitharaman was speaking at the inauguration of a 60-acre permanent Mumbai campus set up by BITS Pilani in Kalyan, which will house a School of Management, a law school and a school of design.
Sitharaman was speaking at the inauguration of a 60-acre permanent Mumbai campus set up by BITS Pilani in Kalyan, which will house a School of Management, a law school and a school of design.

Sitharaman was speaking at the inauguration of a 60-acre permanent Mumbai campus set up by BITS Pilani in Kalyan, which will house a School of Management, a law school and a school of design.

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Referring to the latest budget announcement, where 1 lakh crore was allocated for a special purpose vehicle dedicated to funding research and development activities, she stated that this funding is intended to support research initiatives, including those in the private sector.

She stressed the need for interdisciplinary courses and underscored the development of 5G technology indigenously. Praising the role played by BITS campuses in Pilani, Dubai, Goa, Hyderabad and now Mumbai, Sitharaman said the campuses play the role of a catalyst in providing quality education that has benefitted the industry and the economy.

“It was immensely satisfying to know that 125 crore have been given by in-house scholarships by the promoters. Most often, I don’t want to sound cynical, but we are lectured by Western thought leaders that India should have a culture of charity. I strongly disagree with them. With an example of an institution where I am standing today, which promotes good education, funds students in need and sets good examples of various charitable work they have done for generations - building charity institutions, cultural centres, temples, etc.,” the FM said.

Sitharaman stated that a well-rounded education benefits different services and domains, and India’s growing start-up industry has benefitted from BITsian youngsters.

Declaring the new campus open, Sitharaman said over the years, the institute has produced as many as 7,300 Fortune 500 CEOs, 300 academics of global repute and 600 civil servants. It has also produced 6,200 startups while its incubation centre has spawned 170 startups of which 30 have become unicorns.

“It’s just not a believable record otherwise, but that is the speed with which you find many entrepreneurs trained here coming out and successfully standing out in the new era of entrepreneurship are receiving all the support from favourable policy and a favourable economy,” she said

The finance minister said 176 startups have been incubated in BITS campuses, and robust research results in a minimum of 100 patents are filed each year by BITsians students.

Chancellor Kumaramangalam Birla said three years ago, the BITS management felt that there was a need for management, law and design disciplines, and that is why the Kalyan campus was set up at a cost of 1,500 crore.

While the audience was unaware, in his address, Birla praised Sitharaman’s humility and mentioned that she reached the campus by travelling in a local train from Ghatkopar to Kalyan, and the audience applauded the gesture. Earlier, Sitharaman had travelled in an AC local and interacted with surprised commuters who happily chatted with her and posed for selfies with her.

Sitharaman ended her speech by asking the management students to study the ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ model of the Modi government, which now seeks a third consecutive term in the general elections scheduled in April this year. She said the five pillars of the model were worth studying as a case study.

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