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Pan-IIT meet: All about inspiration

December 17, 2008 09:20 IST

The IIT Alumni 2008 Global Conference is being held at IIT Madras, from December 19 to 21.

The event is expected to get 3,000 alumni participants from around the globe and a galaxy of eminent speakers.

Among the speakers will be Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram, LN Mittal, Dr Patrick Aebischer (president, EPFL, Swizerland), B Muthuraman (Tata Steel) among many others.

K Ananth Krishnan, an M Tech in Computer Science and an M.Sc in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, hosted a chat on rediff.com on Tuesday.

Here is the transcript:

Ram krishnan says, 
Let me start with the basic question from Ramesh - What is this PanIIT all about


RaMESH asked, What is Pan-IIT all about?
Ram krishnan answers,  at 2008-11-25 16:56:30PanIIT is still a relatively recent effort- about 7 years old. Started with the celebration of IIT Kgp's 50th anniversary celebrations in San Jose


Anita asked, Could you explain the significance of this theme for the Pan-IIT global conference this year?
Ram krishnan answers, Since the alumni represent various backgrounds, we will have something for everyone. But in general, as a theme, it is to INSPIRE more alumni to rise up to various challenges


Mandeep asked, Please tell us something about the IIT-ians' vision. What do they plan to give back to their country?
Ram krishnan answers, I like this question. Most of the alumni have been helping the country through their work related contributions. But often, we may not have thought about our community, our nation. We are making a beginning. Remember, every coin has 2 sides. Hence there are exceptions always. One of the session is about Rural Transformation and I am the Track chair for that.


Lakshmanan asked, IIT-IT is the success story in most of the cases. Why IITians are ignoring big Manufacturing sector?
Ram krishnan answers, I am really worried about this trend. Considering that China has now become the manufacturing base for the world, Indians and IIT alumni tend to drift towards IT-type jobs. Once we develop our internal consumption demand, we hope that the manufacturing sector will improve. Again, remember what I said earlier. Always exceptions


Ram krishnan says, I am speaking to you from the US. It is about 6:00 AM here. The economic downturn in the US is across all sectors of the economy. If you are employed in a Company, as long as you are meeting the essential core needs of that company, you will have a job. If you own a Company, you may have to prove yourself again and again.


Kishore asked, How has the current economic downturn affected the IIT-ians in the US, especially those who have set up their own businesses there?
Ram krishnan answers, I am speaking to you from the US. It is about 6:00 AM here. The economic downturn in the US is across all sectors of the economy. If you are employed in a Company, as long as you are meeting the essential core needs of that company, you will have a job. If you own a Company, you may have to prove yourself again and again.


Xavier asked, How would you rate India in terms of IT services? Do you think India will emerge as an IT superpower?
Ram krishnan answers, The cost of IT services in India have risen from about $25 to almost $ 80 now. This is a loaded billable rate. At these rates, the US companies will start questioning why they came to India in the first place. Many companies such as InfoSys, Wipro etc are establishing branches in China, manila and US, yes US. I feel that the IT-companies will survive as Multi-national corporations. But will India (meaning jobs in India) be still a strong part of their operations.


SinghAN asked, We are glad to have a world class institution like IIT. How come there is not single Noble laureate from IIT? Even though many IITians have gone abroad.
Ram krishnan answers, This is a complicated question. I agree with you. So far, the charter of IIT's have been to produce B.Tech graduates. Few years ago, there was a sudden discussion about changing IIT's into only research institutes. We like to compare IIT's with MIT, Harvard and Stanford. In many ways that is not correct. These US universities cover all subjects, they focus equally well on the research front. They attract the best. My personal hope - that such research in India should be focussed on India's problems.


Shivani asked, Dear Mr Krishnan, what is it that IIt-ians hope to gain from this Pan-IIT event? Is it open to outsiders, that is, for non-IITians? Or is it just a closed-door IIT boys' club meeting?
Ram krishnan answers, I am told that the Campus facilities and the venues have seating capacity. Hence, they have put a limit of 3000. If more than 3000 IIT alumni apply, they will not be able to register. There is some possibility that some key sessions can be viewed live on-live.


Ramanathan asked, Given the current financial crisis in the world, how important do you think it is to have the Pan-IIT event?
Ram krishnan answers, I could agree with you to a point. But it is during such troubling times, that we need to answer many basic questions and find answers.


Ram krishnan says, I have answered many questions now. Hope some of you are viewing the responses. Could just one of you acknowledge- please.


Ram krishnan says, I am signing off, bye. Thanks.

  • Registration for the conference is open at http://www.paniit2008.org 
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