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Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of call on by Ashoka Fellows for the year 2015



Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of call on by Ashoka Fellows for the year 2015 
1. I am happy to meet this young, enterprising group of Ashoka Fellows for the year 2015. At the very beginning, I extend you and the representatives from the ‘Ashoka Innovators for the Public’ a warm welcome to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. 


2. ‘Ashoka Innovators for the Public’ (ASHOKA) is a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs comprising people with innovative solutions to urgent social problems. It provides an enabling platform to social entrepreneurs to think and act as change agents. It is a matter of pride that this organization has over the last 35 years of its establishment, mentored and supported over three thousand Ashoka Fellows in eighty two countries, including over 380 Fellows elected from India.

3. I am told that ASHOKA applies a rigorous selection process to elect their Fellows. The candidates and their innovations have to fulfill criteria like system-changing idea, entrepreneurial quality, creativity, ethical fiber and social impact. It is heartening to know that the Ashoka Fellows for the year 2015 who are present here have devised innovative solutions in areas like education and skills training, healthcare and urban development.
Friends:

4. There are many social needs that public, private and civil society institutions are not able to meet fully. At the same time, there is tremendous ingenuity amongst the people, which if tapped, could address the necessities of the common men and women. Much as the blooming of the spring, innovations by students, professionals, common man and local communities can bring smiles on the faces of millions of people.

Friends:

5. The process of innovation converts knowledge into social good and economic wealth. It encourages the engagement of talent with the society to improve the quality of life. India has had a long tradition of innovation.From time to time, the common people in our country have ushered in novel solutions to overcome their day-to-day difficulties.The drivers that influence the pursuit of innovation are many – from basic survival to propulsion of growth.A healthy eco-system is needed to harness innovative potential of various segments in different sectors and at multiple levels in our society.

6. Creating an inclusive eco-system call for linkages between innovators on the one hand, and academic and research institutions and market forces, on the other. Countries successful in building such a network have become innovation leaders. As an attempt to bring educational institutions and innovators within the ambit of an inclusive innovation system, a programme for Innovation Scholars In-Residence was started in Rashtrapati Bhavan. I would like to inform you that two batches of innovation-scholars have come so far, one group of five scholars in the year 2014 and a second group of ten scholars in 2015. During their stay at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, they have been mentored and connected with relevant stakeholders to provide wings to their ideas.

Friends:

7. Educational institutions have a critical role to play in nurturing innovations in society. The large network of higher educational institutions of 712 universities and over 36,000 colleges in India is poised to play a leading part in developing an innovation eco-system. To catalyze the institutions of higher learning in this process, I have been urging the leaders of the higher education sector to establish a connection between their institutes and innovations in their hinterland, and to also set up Innovation Clubs. I am happy to state that in over sixty central higher educational institutions, innovation clubs have been set up. They provide a platform to encourage students tosense the unmet needs of the common men and women, and search, spread and celebrateinnovations.Once unmet needs are mapped, the pedagogy and research process can be reoriented suitably.

8. For the first time ever, a week-long ‘Festival of Innovations’ was organized at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in March 2015 in collaboration with the National Innovation Foundation. It demonstrated new technologies and products made by the grassroots innovators. TheGlobal Roundtables on Inclusive Innovation and Financing of Innovation in the Festival saw the participation of distinguished thinkers, policy-makers, academicians, entrepreneurs and financiers. The second ‘Festival of Innovations’ will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in March this year. You may like to consider participating in this event. The presence of renowned participants from India and abroad will provide a global platform to all the innovators and participants of this Festival.

9. With these few words, I conclude. I wish you all the very best for your endeavours. Chase your dreams as you fulfill the dreams of your country and countrymen.

Thank you. 
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Ashoka Fellows for the year 2015 call on President 
A group of 17 Ashoka Fellows for the year 2015 led by Shri Anshu Gupta, Magsaysay Award Winner called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (February 12, 2016) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that ‘Ashoka Innovators for the Public’ (ASHOKA) is a worldwide network of social entrepreneurs comprising people with innovative solutions to urgent social problems. It provides an enabling platform to social entrepreneurs to think and act as change agents. It is a matter of pride that this organization has over the last 35 years of its establishment, mentored and supported over three thousand Ashoka Fellows in eighty two countries, including over 380 Fellows elected from India.

The President said that there are many social needs that public, private and civil society institutions are not able to meet fully. At the same time, there is tremendous ingenuity amongst the people, which if tapped, could address the necessities of the common men and women. Much as the blooming of the spring, innovations by students, professionals, common man and local communities can bring smiles on the faces of millions of people. The process of innovation converts knowledge into social good and economic wealth. It encourages the engagement of talent with the society to improve the quality of life. Creating an inclusive eco-system call for linkages between innovators on the one hand, and academic and research institutions and market forces, on the other. Countries successful in building such a network have become innovation leaders. 
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President of India to Present Infosys Prizes tomorrow 
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee will present the Infosys Prizes for the year 2015 tomorrow (February 13, 2016) in New Delhi.

The Infosys Prizes has been established by the Infosys Science Foundation with the aimof making heroes and role models of exemplary researchers, whose work makes a difference to their field or the state of the world and who will inspire the next generation to consider a career in research. Each Prize contains a gold medallion, a citation and a purse of Rs. 65 lakh which is the highest prize amount awarded for scientific research in India. 
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President of India inaugurates Rashtrapati Bhavan’s annual “Udyanotsav” 
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the annual “Udyanotsav” of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (opening of Mughal Gardens) today (February 11, 2016).

The Mughal Gardens will remain open for general public from February 12 to March 19, 2016 (except on Mondays which are maintenance days) between 0930 hrs to 1600 hrs. Members of the public will also be able to visit the Spiritual Garden, Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden and Musical Garden.

Entry and exit for the general public will be from Gate No. 35 of the President’s Estate, close to where North Avenue meets Rashtrapati Bhavan. Visitors are requested not to bring any water bottles, briefcases, handbags/ladies purses, cameras, radios/transistors, boxes, umbrellas, eatables etc. Such articles, if any, will have to be deposited at the entry point.

The Mughal Gardens will be open exclusively on March 20 to special category of visitors viz farmers, differently abled persons, defence/para-military forces and Delhi Police personnel from 0930 hrs. to 1600 hrs. This entry and exit will also be through Gate No. 35.

The Tactile Garden will be open for visually impaired people on March 20 from 1100 hrs. to 1600 hrs. Entry and exit will be from Gate No. 12, situated on Church Road (next to the North Avenue). 

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Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi calls on the President 
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (February 11, 2016).

The President warmly recollected his meeting with the Crown Prince in May 2008 during his visit to UAE as the then External Affairs Minister.

Welcoming the Crown Prince, the President conveyed that India shares UAE’s desire for a closer partnership between the two countries. India appreciates the vision of the Crown Prince’s father, HH Sheikh Zayed and the personal commitment of the Crown Prince to strengthen bilateral ties with India. President said it was a matter of great satisfaction that the two countries have decided to elevate their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The President said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to UAE has resulted in increasing mutual understanding and bonds of friendship between the two nations. The Joint Statement issued during that visit reflects the desire to intensify cooperation between the two countries in a wide range of sectors – political, economic, security as well as on regional and multilateral issues. The President remarked the Crown Prince’s visit and its timing will contribute to this end.

The President expressed happiness over the establishment of good institutional mechanisms including a Joint Commission between India and the UAE. He said close collaboration through these institutional dialogues and mechanisms will address pending issues and progress cooperation to the desired levels.

On economic relations, the President said India attaches high priority to enhancing bilateral investment ties with the UAE. He added that through bilateral trade ties between the two countries are growing satisfactorily, UAE investment in FDI in India – of about US $ 3 billion – is far below the existing opportunities and potential.

The President said during the Prime Minister’s visit to the UAE, the two countries had agreed that investment institutions in the UAE would be encouraged to invest in India’s infrastructure – including through India-UAE Infrastructure Investment Fund and a target of US $ 75 billion is set for the same. India looks forward to working together with UAE to achieve this.

The Crown Prince warmly reciprocated the President’s views and expressed his desire to create a strong bridge of friendship and cooperation between India and the UAE.

The President hosted a private lunch in honour of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other dignitaries from India and UAE as well as business leaders. In a special gesture, the President presented HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan a historical photograph of him calling on the Crown Prince’s father, HH Shiekh Zayed during the latter’s visit to New Delhi in 1975. 
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President of India condoles the passing away of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad


The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has condoled the passing away of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad.

In a message to his mother, Smt. Basamma Koppad, the President has said, “I am deeply sad to learn about the passing away of your son, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad.

Lance Naik Koppad was a hero who demonstrated exemplary will power and courage in the face of adversity. He made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. In this moment of grief, the sympathies and condolences of the entire nation are with your family and you. The nation shall always remember Lance Naik Hanumanthappa for his bravery and indomitable spirit.

Please accept my heartfelt condolences and convey them to the members of your family. I pray to the Almighty to give you and your family the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss.” 


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