I was the batch-mate of Prof. BB Pandey at IIT, Kharagpur. I had met him first on the day I had gone to IIT, Kharagpur with my grandfather for the interview, well back in 1957. I joined Mechanical Engineeing while he chose Civil. I joined industry, he continued with academia. But we remained contact. Pandeyji is a devoted academician. I giving below his letter to PMO. I wish PM calls such people and hear them.
BBPandey, Advisor, Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy,Civil engineering Department, Professor(retd) and Ex-Head, Civil Engineering, mob:9434054439
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org 21st April,2015
Honourable Sri Narendra Modijee
The Prime Minister of India
Sub: Taking India to new heights by utilising IITs, NITs and other academic and research Institutions
1. I feel happy that you are making all-out effort to bring industries from abroad to make India a manufacturing hub and thereby creating huge job opportunity for young men and women apart from large economic benefits that may accrue from it. It is also well known that the foreign firms will never reveal their secrets and key parts of machinery will always come from abroad. There is very little chance of any technology transfer to Indian engineers.
2. It is therefore, necessary to utilise intellectual capability of our talented young men and women so that they develop and invent new products and make India a developed nation . The students of IITs are very talented since the best young talents join IITs after a very tough two stage screening process. As per my 50 years of long experience at IIT Kharagpur as a faculty, I feel confident that students of IITs can develop anything from robots to rockets if they are motivated to do exciting problems. Students of varied specialisations live in hostels and this is their strength which even professors do not have. Any development needs knowledge of diverse subjects and joining hands with experts in different areas should be the way out. IIT Kharagpur is the first in the chain of IITs and the very first film on the IIT Kharagpur(the only IIT then) made by Film division of India in 1957 shown in different cinema halls in India clearly informed the public that IITs would produce engineers who would make everything needed by India from aeroplanes to big ships; and India would be self-sufficient. But this is still a distant dream. Even IITs import equipment at a great cost which possibly they could have made with some joint effort and liberal funding. Sufficient investment in coordinated time bound research with a set milestone has not been made in India and we have been falling far behind other countries at a rapid rate. We are importing many things which can be easily made in India if we make honest attempts. MAKE IN INDIA slogan is to be implemented. If scientists and engineers of different specialisations join hands, there is nothing we cannot do. In spite of efforts by Directors, most engineering and science disciplines of different Institutes in India are compartmentalised and interactions among them is limited unlike top universities of the developed countries. Individually we are highly knowledgeable, but collectively we count little and we have yet make impact towards making India a developed country.
3. I suggest that all the Ph.D. and master’s research in IITs and other top Institutes should be on live problems facing India with clear objectives so that we become richer year after year by investment in research. Unlike Indian universities, our students find research in USA and Europe very exciting because they work on live problems . Such problems are more difficult than an invented problem for thesis work. Direct contribution to the wealth of the country in terms of science and technology, products, knowledge should get major emphasis and not merely working on publication oriented research with costly imported equipment. If the Government does not utilise IITs in a big way by providing fund for solving live problems, professors will invent problems requiring less funds for Ph.D. and Master’s theses which may not have direct impact on society though trained man power is always an asset. Sponsored research projects produce good output.
4 We build roads that are damaged in one rain. This is repeated again and again. There is something wrong with our standards. I myself deal with road related matter and framed standards on behalf of the Indian Roads Congress responsible for making standards for Roads in India. The government should involve IITs and other academic institutions in a big way.
5 Faculty of academic Institutes should be given good salary and all activity connected with sponsored research and industrial consultancy should be part and parcel of the academic activity. Funds collected can go towards fees ,assistanceship, repair of equipment, housing, medical facility etc for scholars etc.
Prof B.B.Pandey,IIT Kharagpur,West Bengal April 21,2015