Pranab Mukherjee: The Man who knew ‘Too Much’ - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

News Plus

Pranab Mukherjee: The Man who knew ‘Too Much’

Mukherjee suffered politically for knowing ‘too much’. Rajiv Gandhi dropped him from his Cabinet in 1986. Narasimha Rao didn’t include him in his own in 1991. Sonia Gandhi didn’t make him the PM in 2004.

Utpal Kumar

Published

on

Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India and an illustrious politician who scaled beyond party lines and divide to help build the nation, was always “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, as the cover of the 1986 Illustrated Weekly proclaimed, though mischievously, as the interview with Pritish Nandy cost him his position in the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet. “Little did I know that he (Nandy) was out to make mischief,” Mukherjee later admitted in his three-volume memoirs.

Mischievously or otherwise, the fact remains that Mukherjee was always the man who knew too much, and he suffered politically for that. Rajiv Gandhi dropped him from his Cabinet in 1986. P.V. Narasimha Rao didn’t include him in his own in 1991. Sonia Gandhi didn’t make him the Prime Minister and instead chose the pliable Manmohan Singh for the job in 2004. And later again when his name came up for the presidential position, she vetoed it, saying the UPA government needed his experience!

The young Pranab Mukherjee with Indira Gandhi.
Pranab Mukherjee with P.V. Narasimha Rao

But that never stopped him from being a dependable friend, ally and colleague. It shows his stature that a Prime Minister from the BJP (Narendra Modi) proposed his name for the country’s topmost position. Maybe that was the irony: his own often disowned him, whether his own party or the CM of his own state, Mamata Banerjee, who went out of the way to block his presidential candidacy. But that never made Pranab da leave his ideals.

Pranab Mukherjee with Rajiv Gandhi
File picture of former President Pranab Mukherjee who passed away at the age of 84 on Monday. ANI

A classic example is the way he stood by Indira Gandhi when she lost the elections in 1977. He remained an unwavering loyalist even when most of her supporters were deserting what they thought was a sinking ship. He chose to stand by her when she was arrested seven months after her “iron grip” over the country was smashed by a ballot. He remained one of the few who believed in her comeback when many had already written her off.

Yet, none of this stopped him from telling the truth: that the 21-month Emergency, imposed by Indira on 25 June 1975, was a “misadventure” and an “avoidable event” for which both the party and Mrs Gandhi had to pay a heavy price.

In the first volume of his memoir, The Dramatic Decade: The Indira Gandhi Years, he revealed how Siddhartha Shankar Ray, the then chief minister of Bengal, was the one who advised to go the unconstitutional way. “It was his suggestion, and Indira Gandhi acted on it,” recalled Mukherjee. Ironically, it was Ray who took the lead to testify against Mrs Gandhi before the Shah Commission, instituted to look into the excesses perpetrated during the Emergency era.

 Pranab da recalled that, when deposing before the Shah Commission, Ray had run into Mrs Gandhi — draped in a crimson sari that day — and tossed a sprightly remark: “You look pretty today”. “Despite your efforts”, retorted a curt Indira Gandhi.

 The following are edited excerpts from Pranab Mukherjee’s three-volume memoirs, published by Rupa publications:

 Getting dropped from the Rajiv Cabinet for an interview

The results of the 1984 Lok Sabha elections were declared on 24 December 1984. The Congress swept the polls, winning 404 seats out of 514, while the BJP got only 2 seats… On the morning of 31 December 1984, Rajiv was elected leader of the CPP at 11 am in a meeting held in the Central Hall of Parliament. I chaired the meeting and stood next to him when he announced to the media that the swearing-in would be held at 3 p.m. Even then I was clueless about the manner in which the day would unfold.

I kept waiting for the call. Being dropped from Rajiv’s Cabinet was not even peripherally in my mind. I had heard no rumours, nor had anyone in the party ever vaguely hinted at it. As it happened, P.V. Narasimha Rao, too, was on tenterhooks, calling me several times to check if I had received a call.

When I learnt of my ouster from the Cabinet, I was shellshocked and flabbergasted. I could not believe it. But I composed myself, and sat alongside my wife as she watched the swearing-in ceremony on television. As soon as it concluded, I wrote to the Ministry of Urban Development asking to be allotted a smaller house in place of my 2 Jantar Mantar residence (which was a ministerial allocation), pointing out that I had ceased to be a minister—this was something I had done in 1977, too. I then went off on a holiday with my family who had long suffered my neglect.

Another person who got axed was Ghani Khan Choudhury, my compatriot from West Bengal.

 In March 1985, Rajiv gave an interview to Sunday magazine:

Q. When you formed your first government, after the elections, why were people like Pranab Mukherjee and Ghani Khan Chowdhury dropped?

A. Well, we really wanted to give a bit of a new look, try and get things moving a bit.

Q. But, seriously, why was Pranab Mukherjee dropped? I grant you the privilege of retaining only those you trust and can work with, but the dropping of a finance minister is clearly a serious matter. I cannot but ask this question.

 A: The Finance Ministry was not run tightly enough. I thought we needed a change. The Finance Minister has to be very tough. He can’t be goody-goody. I don’t think he [Mukherjee] was tough enough.

When Sonia chooses Manmohan over Pranab

 It was left to her (Sonia Gandhi) to choose the prime minister. There was intense speculation in the party and the media about her choice. Within the Congress party, the consensus was that the incumbent must be a political leader with experience in party affairs and administration. Finally, she named Dr Manmohan Singh as her choice and he accepted.

 The prevalent expectation was that I would be the next choice for prime minister after Sonia Gandhi declined. This expectation was possibly based on the fact that I had extensive experience in government, while Singh’s vast experience was as a civil servant with five years as a reformist finance minister. The media speculation and frenzy began. Some media commentators reported that I would not join the government because I could not work under Manmohan Singh, who had been my junior when I was the finance minister. The fact was that I was reluctant to join the government, and informed Sonia Gandhi accordingly. She, however, insisted that I should join the government since I would be vital to its functioning, and also be of support to Dr Singh. As it turned out, Dr Singh would talk to me on all important issues and seemed to depend on me. We shared a good working relationship.

 Sonia again vetoes presidential proposal

 The latter half of the budget session of 2007 witnessed much speculation in political circles about the choice of the presidential candidate. The incumbent A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was due to retire in July that year. Around May-June, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh began discussions with our coalition partners about the prospective presidential candidate. I am told that my name was proposed by the Left parties first and then seconded by others. However, the final decision was left to the Congress party. Sonia Gandhi called me and said, ‘Your name is being suggested by some political parties as the presidential candidate, but it would be difficult for us to spare you as you are a strong pillar of the party in the government and in the Parliament.’ I told her that the decision was for her to take, and I would abide by it. Sometime later, Prakash Karat came to my residence and informed me of his discussion with Sonia Gandhi on the issue of the presidential candidate. He mentioned that she had ruled out my name citing a number of reasons, including the fact that she did not have a substitute for me as the leader in the Lok Sabha, and could not spare me from the ministry. Further, my experience and knowledge about party matters was crucial for her as the Congress president. I understood, and reconciled myself to the situation.

Pratibha Devisingh Patil was chosen as the UPA-I candidate for the presidential election. She won by a huge majority defeating Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

Mamata’s roadblock to Rashtrapati Bhavan

Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed their parties’ support — Mayawati at a press conference in Delhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lucknow. In the meantime, L.K. Advani tried to persuade Jayalalithaa not to support P.A. Sangma, but to support Kalam instead, in which case the chances of winning the election would be higher. However, this strategy came to nought as Kalam, at a press conference on 18 June, declared that he was not in the race. But Mamata Banerjee persevered, and tried to persuade him. In fact, she organised a rally of her party workers and legislators in Kolkata to mobilise public sentiment in favour of Kalam. In this way she hoped to urge Kalam to reconsider his decision and put pressure on the political spectrum to consider Kalam as a candidate of the people. Perhaps all this was the result of her expectations not being met by me as the finance minister. Mamata Banerjee had been unhappy with me for quite some time. She seemed to be under the misconception that I was deliberately not meeting her demand for a waiver of the outstanding loan to the government of West Bengal, which had accumulated during the Left Front rule. She had also been demanding a moratorium of five years for the current debts. She expected me to fulfil these demands as the finance minister. On several occasions, I had explained to her that total debt moratorium was not possible, for every state has a debt burden. I assured her that the 13th Finance Commission had made some recommendations for providing relief to debt-burdened states. While most states accepted and implemented the recommendations, West Bengal had not — and as a result, the state could not get full relief. I also reminded her that I had helped West Bengal. I had explained the details of the financial package to her Finance Minister, Amit Mitra. I do not know what he conveyed to her but she remained dejected, frustrated and angry with me.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

News Plus

We were the first ones to take a chance with OTT: Vidyut Jammwal

Published

on

Actor Vidyut Jammwal recently joined NewsX for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. As part of the interview, Vidyut opened up about his latest film Sanak, taking a chance with the OTT last year and much more. Read excerpts:

Speaking about the shift to the OTT space, Vidyut said, “It is quite good. I have a lot of people, who are working now. I have had friends, who really had the talent, but never got the work. I think OTT is doing a great job with a lot of talent, to start with. We were the first ones to take a chance with OTT last year and what chance we took. It just changed everything for good.”

“We are working on Khuda Haafiz 2. We are aiming for a theatrical release now. Sanak was made for the theatres. Everything was ready and we could not just hold the movie. We do lose a lot of money at the movies. We decided why not just get the best out of it. I’ve grown up watching Jackie Chan films and I believe that this is the time for everybody to go on the platform Disney plus Hotstar, press the pause button, slow it down, see what I’ve done, how I have I’ve done it, the way I’ve always done from Jackie Chan and just try to do it,” he added.

Giving more insights about his latest film Sanak, Vidyut shared, “It has been different because Kanishk Verma, the director of the film, is a friend of mine. I have always believed in him. He was a director. He’s a friend of mine. Every time he sat and I used to look at him, like wow look at this idea! I love the way you think about music and then I got a chance in life where I thought I could get to work with people who I believe in. Kanishk was one of them. I made him meet Vipul and they just enjoyed each other’s company. That’s how the journey started. We came up with an idea and we thought it was phenomenal.”

When asked if he enjoyed the action in the film, he responded, “I enjoyed it. I had to surpass everything that I have done in the past. Today, I was watching the news by these international action critiques and I was very proud of myself being an Indian. They loved what they saw. I have enjoyed everything I put in the effort. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to use every things in my movie because he’s not a trained fighter. He’s just a martial artist and how he could depend on his wife and the whole everybody in the hospital. I have to be creative with ideas and people have enjoyed it.”

Continue Reading

News Plus

Remote work has been our culture from day one: Vipul Amler, Founder, Saeloun

Published

on

Vipul Amler, Founder, Saeloun recently joined us for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. Before diving deeper into his company Saeloun, Vipul introduced himself as saying, “I am a software developer, who works on web and mobile applications. We primarily use technology called Ruby On Rails and React JS, which are used by major companies like Facebook, Flipkart, Instagram and so forth. I have been in this industry for the last decade or so. At the same time, I also have written books on the same. Other than that, recently I have also been doing small angel investments.”

Talking about Saeloun and his journey to start the company, Vipul shared, “This is my second company in the last couple of years. Saeloun was started as a way for being a company, which is employee owned as well as having a very open transparent culture. We started off with that so that employees have more input in the growth and so forth. Saeloun specialises in the same thing- Ruby On Rails and React.Js and we help a bunch of different clients in various fields from e-commerce, healthcare and so forth. That was the primary purpose of starting Saeloun. “

When asked about the services they offer and their primary clientele, he responded, “Many clients, which are established clients, they contact us and reach out to us for our expertise on Ruby On Rails and React.Js, which I use for building applications. Like you might have seen Airbnb or Amazon or Flipkart. We help them to build the web applications. We also have expertise in helping them build mobile applications that you use. For example, if you are using PayTm or Google Pay, these kind of applications. We help our clients spread out. At the same time, when the clients were growing a lot, they come to us for helping them to scale or a bunch of different things.”

“There has been a huge growth since the last year. A lot of people last year, after the pandemic started coming up online, which for us has been a very busy time,” he added. 

Speaking about the founding principles on the basis of which he started Saeloun and what sets apart Saeloun from others in the market, Vipul said, “Profit sharing was one part of the thing. This is before the pandemic. Last year, everyone started to do work from home or remote work but we have doing or I have been doing remote work since 2011 or 2012. That was the same principle as well, which sets Saeloun apart. We have been doing remote work and remote work has been our culture from day one since we started in 2019. In terms of profit sharing, we are a services company so we provide consulting with various different companies. For employees to have more ownership in the company, that was one of the ways. Whatever profits we have, we actually announce them publicly as well and share the financial data with everyone, so that they are aware of how we are doing and also equitably distribute 25% of all of our profits with our employees.”

Continue Reading

News Plus

ELVISA COSMETICS LAUNCHED TO PROVIDE PERSONALISED BEAUTY EXPERIENCE

Published

on

Renowned International model Elvisa has recently launched her new venture Elvisa cosmetics. Elvisa revealed she’s been working on the brand for the past few years and that her friends and family have been testing out the products. Amongst its many firsts, the Elvisa Cosmetics offers an innovative range of different makeup products including different shades of foundations, lipsticks, primer, and other beauty essentials where you can mix and match to create your desired signature shade in trendy tones. Besides personalised skincare consultations from beauty advisors, the brand also offers mini makeovers and makeup tutorials by Elvisa that consist of diamond lips, smokey eyes, charcoal glitter lids, golden glam eye shadow, sculpt and contour, tips to get perfect eyebrows and iconic eyeliner looks. The various categories of products have been divided into convenient sections enabling shoppers to pick their favourites with ease. Commenting on the launch, Elvisa, CEO, Elvisa Cosmetics said, “We are thrilled to launch our first-ever cosmetic range for the most diverse women across the world. We are extremely delighted with the response we are getting for our unique products. With this launch we are also unlocking the potential of our online store to create an endless aisle shopping experience for our loyal customers and deepen our bond with them.” Currently, she has an online family of 721K followers on her Instagram page. She loves to experiment with her clothes, it’s colour shades. She loves to travel and keeps her social media handle regularly updates about her whereabouts. She loves pink, black and brown colours and we can see her trying on different attires of these particular shades. The latter has earlier been seen on various fashion runways and shows flaunting her unique clothing style and walk. She started her journey on Instagram, a photo and video sharing online app which has given a breakthrough to numerous fashion icons. “I wanted to start my own cosmetics line because I want to build my own unique brand and leave a legacy behind. My goal wasn’t to always wear brands, it was to become one.”

Continue Reading

News Plus

Marks & Spencer showcases India Festive Fusion collection

Published

on

Celebrating the festive season in style, the iconic British brand Marks & Spencer presented their latest collection, India special occasion wear in a fashion show in New Delhi. Bollywood celebrity Neha Dhupia was seen on the ramp as the showstopper, who looked stunning as ever. The new mom was mesmerising in a deep green embroidered round neck dress with contrast colour paisley print. Accompanying her on the ramp was her handsome actor husband Angad Bedi, looking dapper in velvet teal peak label blazer, black shirt and versatile dark trousers from the new occasion wear collection. Neha, who delivered a baby boy earlier this month, looked tres chic in the India Festive Fusion collection. The actor, being the popular body positive advocate, chose a relaxed fit dress and walked the ramp with no qualms about her post-partum body. Commenting on the newly launched collections, James Munson, MD, Marks & Spencer India said, “Designed in response to an increasing desire among customers for chic outfits that can work hard in their wardrobes, the latest collections can be dressed up for an occasion or paired down for daily wear. Neha looks absolutely fantastic in the collection, especially after recently welcoming her new arrival. It’s great to have her and Angad join M&S this evening,” he further added about the show and showstoppers. Talking about her association with the brand, Neha was ecstatic as she shared, “Marks & Spencer has been a constant in my wardrobe for over a decade now. From my early days, M&S was my go-to for must-haves and fashion staples, and now I am wearing their India special occasion wear. I also love the evening wear for men, like what Angad is wearing. The brand never fails to surprise and delight, and I am glad to be a part of M&S event once again.” Angad added “Evening wear for Indian men from M&S is a sartorial treat. Some pieces like the Bandgala and Bandi jackets are a great addition to their existing product range. This collection helps make dressing up for any occasion easy.” The fashion show tossed up must-have pieces like elevated flowing dresses, chic pant suits, beautiful tops on female models. Male models wore opulent velvet bandh galas, dinner jackets, waistcoats, premium shirts in rich sateen and ornate prints, exquisitely tailored trousers and top-notch polo t-shirts. The presentation also showcased a combination of smart autumn-winter, loungewear and festive fare, as a part of this special celebratory fashion repertoire.

Continue Reading

News Plus

Drone Spraying in Sangli Sugarcane Cultivation, entrepreneur introduces new trends in MH Agriculture

Social impact entrepreneur Prateek Patil has implemented a line of drone technology for spraying fertilisers which has already covered 3,200 acres of sugarcane area benefiting over 2,000 farmers in Walwa, Sangli.

Sangli District has been grounds for pioneering agriculture and irrigation works in Western Maharashtra. From the cooperative movement to drip irrigation, innovation has been a sign of the cultivation in the region. The drone spraying technology introduced by Prateek and adopted by the Rajarambapu Sugar Factory in Sangli in 2020-2021 has not only reduced time and efforts of the farmers but also increasedprofitability. To launch this initiative, Prateek conducted 22 ‘Shetkari Parisamvads’ where he met over 4,900 farmers to incept the idea and talk about the benefits of this technology. According to him, “acceptance to new methods is often the most difficult step in the Indian agricultural landscape, and to get their willingness to try new schemes is one of the challenging parts.”

Prateek has been involved with agro-innovation and has conducted several initiatives to aid and propagate drip irrigation. These meetings across Sangli propelled the conversation and attracted many farmers to come and test out the drone technology.

SAVING TIME, MONEY AND WATER

Conventionally the farmer sprays his crops physically. Even with hired manual labour, this is a costly and time-consuming affair. In the manual spraying method, for one-acre sugarcane, a farmer would spend around Rs 1000 on spraying labour charges along with 200 L water and a higher quantity of chemicals.

To address these problems, coupled with the lack of labourers during Covid-19, Prateek decided to introduce this technique. He took it upon himself to test the technology and setup a partnership with a regional manufacturing company. The drones are given out on rent at very affordable rates saving almost 40% of total costs. It utilises only 10 L water, saving almost 150 L. Also, now it takes only 5-10 mins to spray fertilisers and permitted pesticides on one acre of sugarcane as opposed to 4-5 hours earlier. Crops at any height can be effectively reached and 4 nozzles guarantee a comprehensive and equal distribution of fertilisers and pesticides.

It is flexible across climate conditions and allows for uniform spraying of entire fields. A reduction of 25-50% in the quantity of fertilisers and pesticides used has been observed after adapting drone spraying and the quality of yield of crops has been found to increase by 20-30%, which has resulted in more income.

GENERATING EMPLOYMENT

Use of this drone technology also has an additional advantage of generating employment for the local youth in manufacturing and operations. The Sugar Factory has partnered with a company called Chatak Innovations for assembling and operating drones. Labour force hiring for the drone operation facility like Drone Pilots & Co-Pilots, Cars & Drivers for the drone’s transport and the supervision team is facilitated under the leadership of Prateek. Employment numbers for assembling and operating is expected to increase as more farmers adopt drone technology.

Currently, the factory uses a 10 L Octocopter drone. After conducting an initial pilot, this technology is being introduced on a greater scale to farmers of the region. Till date, over 3,200 acres of area have been covered by drone spraying benefiting over 2000 farmers of the region. Each drone is currently covering 9 to 12 acres in a day and this is a first-of-its-kind exercise conducted by a sugar factory in Maharashtra, stated Vikas Deshmukh, Director, Vasantdada Sugar Institute.

Published

on

Social impact entrepreneur Prateek Patil has implemented a line of drone technology for spraying fertilisers which has already covered 3,200 acres of sugarcane area benefiting over 2,000 farmers in Walwa, Sangli.

Sangli District has been grounds for pioneering agriculture and irrigation works in Western Maharashtra. From the cooperative movement to drip irrigation, innovation has been a sign of the cultivation in the region. The drone spraying technology introduced by Prateek and adopted by the Rajarambapu Sugar Factory in Sangli in 2020-2021 has not only reduced time and efforts of the farmers but also increasedprofitability. To launch this initiative, Prateek conducted 22 ‘Shetkari Parisamvads’ where he met over 4,900 farmers to incept the idea and talk about the benefits of this technology. According to him, “acceptance to new methods is often the most difficult step in the Indian agricultural landscape, and to get their willingness to try new schemes is one of the challenging parts.”

Prateek has been involved with agro-innovation and has conducted several initiatives to aid and propagate drip irrigation. These meetings across Sangli propelled the conversation and attracted many farmers to come and test out the drone technology.

SAVING TIME, MONEY AND WATER

Conventionally the farmer sprays his crops physically. Even with hired manual labour, this is a costly and time-consuming affair. In the manual spraying method, for one-acre sugarcane, a farmer would spend around Rs 1000 on spraying labour charges along with 200 L water and a higher quantity of chemicals.

To address these problems, coupled with the lack of labourers during Covid-19, Prateek decided to introduce this technique. He took it upon himself to test the technology and setup a partnership with a regional manufacturing company. The drones are given out on rent at very affordable rates saving almost 40% of total costs. It utilises only 10 L water, saving almost 150 L. Also, now it takes only 5-10 mins to spray fertilisers and permitted pesticides on one acre of sugarcane as opposed to 4-5 hours earlier. Crops at any height can be effectively reached and 4 nozzles guarantee a comprehensive and equal distribution of fertilisers and pesticides.

It is flexible across climate conditions and allows for uniform spraying of entire fields. A reduction of 25-50% in the quantity of fertilisers and pesticides used has been observed after adapting drone spraying and the quality of yield of crops has been found to increase by 20-30%, which has resulted in more income.

GENERATING EMPLOYMENT

Use of this drone technology also has an additional advantage of generating employment for the local youth in manufacturing and operations. The Sugar Factory has partnered with a company called Chatak Innovations for assembling and operating drones. Labour force hiring for the drone operation facility like Drone Pilots & Co-Pilots, Cars & Drivers for the drone’s transport and the supervision team is facilitated under the leadership of Prateek. Employment numbers for assembling and operating is expected to increase as more farmers adopt drone technology.

Currently, the factory uses a 10 L Octocopter drone. After conducting an initial pilot, this technology is being introduced on a greater scale to farmers of the region. Till date, over 3,200 acres of area have been covered by drone spraying benefiting over 2000 farmers of the region. Each drone is currently covering 9 to 12 acres in a day and this is a first-of-its-kind exercise conducted by a sugar factory in Maharashtra, stated Vikas Deshmukh, Director, Vasantdada Sugar Institute.

Continue Reading

News Plus

MINISTERS LAUD JGU AS 1ST UNIVERSITY TO RELEASE UN-SDG REPORT 2021

Published

on

On the occasion of the United Nations Day 2021, O.P. Jindal Global University released the first-of-its-kind Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: Role of Universities and Civil Society in Protecting the Environment Report, mapping its compliance towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.

Setting a global benchmark, O.P. Jindal Global University has become one of the first universities to fully commit to and implement the SDGs on its campus, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report was launched in the presence of Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Environment, Professor (Dr.) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General Association of Indian Universities, Atul Bagai, Head of Country Office United Nations Environment Programme and Sudhir Mishra, Founder & Managing Partner, Trust Legal, Advocates & Consultants.

The UN SDGs include affordable and sustainable energy, combating climate change, eradicating hunger, education, health, and gender equality.

To demonstrate its commitment towards the implementation of the SDGs, O.P. Jindal Global University engaged in an independent assessment of its campus and initiatives to get a transparent and fair view of the university’s progress in compliance with the UN SDGs.

A cohort of 12 assessors from the environment and legal fields including The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Trust Legal, Advocates & Consultants and Mazars Business Advisors Pvt. Ltd., Trust Legal, Advocates & Consultants carried out a rigorous evaluation of the university’s processes ranging from the university’s energy consumption to water management systems and community engagement initiatives.

Pradhan said, “The launch of the report comes at an opportune moment when the world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend COP26 meeting at Glasgow next month. Diverse voices in the form of reports, scientific inquiry, and debates will only enrich our collective knowledge in protecting the health of the planet.”

“Universities have responsibility to contribute not only to the local communities but also to the global community. This is primarily because they have the capacity to help students develop a holistic understanding of how a wide range of local, national and global challenges can be addressed. The role of universities in the road to sustainable development is crucial. It becomes imperative that the universities devote time and resources to create an SDG-ready generation that remains focused on the mission to achieve sustainable development,” he added.

Choubey said, “I congratulate the Vice-Chancellor of JGU that under his leadership, JGU is not only committed to excellence in education but has also demonstrated a vision to implement the UN-SDG goals at the university. Educational institutions can play a pivotal role in informing young people and create awareness about the steps needed to protect and preserve the environment.”

Kumar said, “The Sustainability Development Report 2021 demonstrates our commitment to creating a green and socially-conscious campus and to have a transparent and fair view of our progress in our compliance with the UN SDGs. JGU has moved towards a healthier and safer environment by implementing the SDGs within its campus. By taking efforts to implement the UN-SDGs, JGU has shown the way to other educational institutions, how futuristic, social and environmental commitments are met.”

Setting the context for why universities must play a role in implementing SDGs, Bagai said, “Today, we are all facing ‘the triple planetary crisis’. It is the crisis of climate, the crisis of nature, and the crisis of pollution and waste. The crisis is very clearly a consequence of the economic path that we have pursued along with resource-intensive processes, consequent lifestyle changes due to economic growth and urbanisation. It is a rare feat for a university not only in south Asia or in Asia Pacific to have come up with such a report. It’s an extremely laudable effort which will be a game-changer. We should make it available to every university in the country.”

O.P. Jindal Global University has created a sustainable model with solar power generation by contributing excess power to the grid. The university has aimed in instituting zero-net emission policies and investing in on-campus renewable energy production by developing long-term resource efficiency and management plans. Close to 55% of the university’s campus is under a green cover. A green area around the university helps to arrest the effects of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants in the area besides playing a major role in environmental conservation efforts.

The university has also set up the Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability to ensure that it creates innovation and young leadership to combat climate change and its impact. It also provides interdisciplinary education across other schools to ensure that there is adequate awareness on this important subject across the entire university.

Professor Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General Association of Indian Universities said, “We do realise that India is placed at 120th rank in implementation of SDG 2021 and this calls for urgent action from all sectors of the society. Due to their unique position in society, the higher education institutions have immense scope and potential to contribute towards realising all 17 SDGs and thereby accomplishing them. I feel that rather realising the SDGs without the cooperation of the higher education sector is quite an impossible task. In India, there is a lot of tacit contribution of HEIs in implementing SDGs, but there is no documented data on the same.”

Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) gave the concluding address and said, “We have taken a step in the right direction towards promoting the significance of UN-SGDs by progressively undertaking activities to meet the goals in consonance with the National Education Policy. I am also happy to report that most recently we have opened a student chapter of the International Green Building Campus under the aegis of the Confederation of Indian Industry. A very futuristic and a definite step has been taken to create a green campus.”

Continue Reading

Trending