Address by Shri Dilip Rath, Chairman, NDDB at Eighth Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture -26 November 2019

Dr Prem Shankar Goel, Chairman, National Innovation Foundation; Prof Hitesh Bhatt, Director, IRMA; Members of the governing body and society members of IRMA; Invited guests; My colleagues of IRMA, NDDB and other sister organisations; Participants of the PGDRM, FPRM and PGDMX(R) programmes of IRMA; Ladies and Gentlemen….

I wish you all a very good morning and extend a warm welcome to all of you at the 8th Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture organised by the Institute of Rural Management Anand, to be delivered by Dr Prem Shankar Goel, Chairman, National Innovation Foundation on the topic “Innovation and Advanced Technology led Transformation of Rural Economy”. We are fortunate that the lecture on this topic is being delivered by none other than Dr. Goel who has been a pioneer in giving several advanced technologies to the nation, especially in the field of space research.

Renowned economist Jeffery D. Sachs has eloquently made a very pertinent point in his book ‘The End of Poverty’ and I Quote “I believe that the single most important reason why prosperity spread, and why it continues to spread, is the transmission of technologies and the ideas underlying them.

Dr Verghese Kurien has been one of the greatest architects of rural development in our country. Whether it was making powder from buffalo milk, treating commodity aid as investment, putting in place the tools of development in the hands of the farmers or rolling out scientific animal breeding and nutrition programmes, Dr Kurien was ‘innovation’ personified.

Dr Kurien knew that to achieve the desired objectives and to make a positive change in the lives of rural households, technological advancements are required to be disseminated for use by the end users. This required large number of trained professionals. He had realised that this role could not have been taken by the mainstream management institutions. It was precisely with this reason that Dr Kurien established Institute of Rural Management in 1979 to nurture and develop a cadre of rural management professionals.

Since then, we are proud that IRMANs have been a part of the journey towards rural transformation by playing a pivotal role in rural and development sectors and many of them hold leadership positions in premier organisations. We are proud that more than 60 per cent of IRMANs are serving the sectors like development and livelihoods, dairy cooperatives, social entrepreneurship, agribusiness, environment, education, renewable energy, research & academia, policy & advocacy, consulting etc. contributing immensely to rural wealth creation and nation building.

Today a grateful nation is paying homage to one of its greatest sons and the whole country is celebrating this day as the National Milk Day. The nation is grateful to him for the daily glass of milk which is now available and affordable to every citizen.

Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial lectures over the years have given us an opportunity to pay homage to Dr Kurien as well as listen to the views and perspectives of some of the eminent persons and scholars in the country. We feel really privileged that Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial lectures have been delivered in past by Prof. M S Swaminathan, Prof V S Vyas, Prof Raghuram Rajan, Dr Arvind Subramanian, Shri Vikram Singh Mehta, Prof Ramesh Chand and Shri Amitabh Kant.

Today we are truly honoured to have Dr Prem Shankar Goel, Chairman, National Innovation Foundation to speak on this occasion.

Dr Goel has a very illustrious career as a scientist and has immensely contributed in planning for remote sensing communication and scientific missions of ISRO. He has also been the former Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Earth Sciences. He was also the first Chairman of Earth Commission.

Dr Goel was awarded Padma Shri in 2001. He has received several awards including Life Time Achievement Award of Indian National Academy of Engineering and Distinguished Scientist Award of ISRO.

Currently Dr Goel is the Raja Ramanna Chair Professor at National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Honorary Distinguished Professor, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Bangalore and is Chairman of National Innovation Foundation. He has authored over 100 research papers in reputed journals and conference publications.

Now I have the pleasure in inviting Dr Prem Shankar Goel to deliver the 8th Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial lecture on “Innovation and Advanced Technology led Transformation of Rural Economy”.

Thank you very much.