CHENNAI : Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon’ble Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister, Government of India, took part in a CSR summit held today (18th Dec 2022) at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras). She addressed the corporate and industry leaders stressing on the need for collaboration via CSR in research and development to foster innovation to drive Indian economic dreams.
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman participated in a town hall interaction with a cross-section of industry leaders and students on how to make CSR more meaningful and enable long-term research collaboration.
The Entire Event can be viewed using the following link – https://youtu.be/2VWo_lASoag
IIT Madras has emerged as a leader in leveraging technology to drive social impact through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) collaborations. IIT Madras collaborates with corporates, PSUs and various institutions on a range of technology-driven CSR projects. With over 175 CSR partners and CSR projects worth in excess of Rs. 240 crore in the past few years, the Institute is pioneering technology-driven social impact on a range of themes.
Industry-Academia Panel Discussions were held on relevant topics including sustainability, innovation in healthcare and skilling the workforce of tomorrow to deliberate on ideas to promote greater collaboration in research via CSR.
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman also released a book titled ‘Data Sciences for Engineers,’ authored by Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras.
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated a National Center for Precision Medicine in Cancer, which attracted funding of Rs. 29.73 Crore with Karkinos Healthcare. The key objective of this partnership is to promote the research work of IIT Madras in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, Data Science, and other interdisciplinary research to develop affordable cancer care solutions
The ‘CAMS IIT-M Fintech Innovation Lab,’ established in partnership with Computer Age Management Services (CAMS) Limited, was also inaugurated on the occasion. The objective is to establish a world-class hub of research and applied technologies in Fintech and related applied technologies. The multi-disciplinary Lab will help promote education and research in fintech and accelerate innovation in addressing industry challenges.
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman also inaugurated the revamped IIT Madras Heritage Centre and visited the exhibition on ‘CSR – Creating technology-led social impact.’
Addressing a town hall on ‘Enabling Jai Anusandhan,’ Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon’ble Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister, Government of India, said, “Corporate Social Responsibility meaning corporates spending 2 per cent of post-profits by Indian law being given for such research is bearing substantial outcomes and it should continue. I would think the Indian Government policy has also helped in moving forward on these aspects. IIT Madras is one of the highly-awarded places as an Institute for patent filing, intellectual property awards for the year 2021 and 2022 as well. I want to highlight how with an enabling policy environment, patent filing can be expedited and unless this is done, researchers cannot focus on their research.”
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said, “In 2016, when the start-up policy was announced, a lot of enabling policy were also brought in so that start-ups can get assistance in filing IPs. The number of days it took for patents to clear was 72 months in 2016. As on December 2020 (which is the last data I have), it has come down to 12 months and in some cases, 24 months. We are trying to bring that down even further. Domestic filing of patents has gone up. A total of 58,502 patents were filed in 2021 while 28,391 were granted in the same period. 14.2 lakh trademark registrations were made in the four years between 2016 and 2020. This number is astonishing for me because since after 1940 till 2015, approximately 75 years, only 11 lakh trademarks were registered in India.”
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The DST (Department of Science and Technology) alone, only through IITs, has provided funding of Rs. 27,000 crore for R&D. In addition, DST has spent Rs. 53,000 crore on innovations through non-IIT institutions across the country.”
“Start-ups are provided almost 80 per cent rebate in the costs of filing patents. Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister, has often said that he wanted India to be an “IP Superpower.” India has always invested in knowledge and this Government, from 2014, has continually seen how India can become a knowledge based society,” Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman added.
Highlighting some of the interesting projects taken up by the Institute with CSR support, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The Institute has been concentrating on ‘IIT Madras for all’ where we want to reach as many people as possible and provide technology-based solutions. The modes of engagement are diverse. We have several Centres of Excellences that are looking at Deep-tech areas like AI and a lot more research projects that are directly benefitting the society by solving intricate problems.”
Further, Prof. V. Kamakoti said, “Keeping in mind National Education Policy, the Institute had launched IITM BS Degree in Data Science and Applications which has no entrance examination and limits on number of seats. There are multiple entry and exit options. With over 16,000 people enrolled, this program has brought people from different walks of life into its fold. A lot of CSR funding has come to this program to provide scholarship for students. We took 200 Corporation school students from Tamil Nadu and 87 of them qualified for the program. They will become IIT Madras Alums when they graduate.”
Further, Prof. Kamakoti added, “We also have Pravartak Asha Rural Technology Centres, five of which are set up in villages. They provide an opportunity for people in the area to come and work on their ideas. We enable them on various areas like robotics and design system. We would like to expand this to 100 centres in the days to come.”
Highlighting the importance of technology-driven CSR in tackling societal issues, Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said, “Enabling technologies for a better tomorrow by CSR has been our endeavour at IIT Madras for the past five years. We are grateful to all the CSR partners who have helped us in this journey.”
Commenting on the alliance with IIT Madras, Mr. Anuj Kumar, Managing Director, CAMS, said, “We are very pleased to have entered into this collaboration with IIT-M, a world renowned technology and research institute. Through this CSR initiative, we hope to develop research-based hi-tech solutions to address specific needs of the Capital markets and the larger BFSI secto”
Speaking about this collaboration, Mr. R. Venkataramanan, Founder and CEO, Karkinos Healthcare Private Limited, said, “We are privileged to begin a partnership with IIT Madras, an iconic institution and pioneer in research and innovation. We are confident that through this association and unstinted support of the faculty and staff we would be able to build solutions for precision oncology in India for India and beyond in the not-so-distant future.”
Highlighting the importance of this CSR Summit, Mr. Kaviraj Nair, Chief Executive Officer, Office of Institutional Advancement, IIT Madras, said, “It is heartening to see corporate and industry leaders join us at IIT Madras campus to explore avenues for utilizing CSR funding for tech research and collaboration in socially-relevant areas. While the statute already allows for CSR funds to be utilized in socially relevant scientific research in institutes like IITs, events like this help corporate leaders think through this paradigm by means of panel discussions and peer interactions; they help bring in more focus and clarity. And obviously, it is also an opportunity for the corporate leaders to get a first-hand understanding of the cutting edge work we do in IIT Madras.”