Thane: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Praises BITS Pilani’s Role in Semiconductors and AI

Kalyan, 25th February 2024: In her speech at the inauguration of BITS Pilani’s new Mumbai campus in Kalyan, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman commended BITS Pilani for its commendable efforts in fostering interdisciplinary research in semiconductors and generative AI. She also acknowledged the institution’s role in quality education across various campuses and its impact on industry and the economy.

Sitharaman highlighted the latest budget announcement allocating ₹1 lakh crore for a special purpose vehicle dedicated to funding research and development. Emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary courses and the indigenous development of 5G technology, she stressed that the funding is intended to support research initiatives, including those in the private sector.

Expressing satisfaction with the philanthropic efforts of BITS Pilani, Sitharaman contradicted Western thought leaders advocating for a culture of charity in India. She cited BITS Pilani’s example, where ₹125 crore had been provided in-house scholarships by the promoters. Sitharaman praised the institution’s contribution to education and charitable work, including the establishment of charity institutions, cultural centres, and temples over generations.

The finance minister lauded the institute’s significant achievements, such as producing Fortune 500 CEOs, academics of global repute, and civil servants, and fostering numerous startups, including unicorns. She opened the new Mumbai campus, revealing that 176 startups had been incubated in BITS campuses, and a minimum of 100 patents are filed each year by BITSian students.

Chancellor Kumaramangalam Birla explained the rationale behind establishing the Kalyan campus, emphasizing the need for management, law, and design disciplines. He mentioned that the campus was set up at a cost of ₹1,500 crore.

In a surprising revelation, Birla commended Sitharaman’s humility, noting that she had travelled to the campus by local train from Ghatkopar to Kalyan. Sitharaman, in turn, encouraged management students to study the ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ model of the Modi government, citing its five pillars as a valuable case study.