Edn will play key role in achieving high growth: Prez

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today said education has a key role to play in achieving the projected economic growth rate of 9 per cent each year during the current plan period (2012-17).

"A growth rate of nine per cent per year has been envisaged during the Twelfth Five Year Plan period of 2012 to 2017. Such scales of economic expansion need several enabling factors prominent among them being education," Mukherjee said inaugurating the 27th Indian Engineering Congress here.

Hailing the progress made in the creation of necessary infrastructure for higher education, the President said India has 659 degree awarding institutions and 33,023 colleges. The number of Indian Institutes of Technology has also increased from seven in 2006-07 to 15 in 2011-12.

"The enrolment to higher education institutions in the country has similarly increased, from 1.39 crore in 2006-07 to 2.18 crore in 2011-12. Engineering comprised 13 per cent of the total enrolment in 2006-07. This figure has since increased to 25 per cent," Mukherjee said.

In the realm of technical education, with the support of the World Bank, the government has been conducting a programme for improving quality.

"While the first phase from 2002 to 2009 covered 127 engineering institutions, the second phase from 2010 to 2014 would cover about 190 more engineering institutions," he said.

The President, however, said to achieve truly sustainable growth, poverty eradication was of utmost importance.

"Poverty and a degraded environment are closely inter- related, especially where people depend for their livelihoods primarily on the natural resource base of their immediate environment. Removal of poverty is, therefore, a prerequisite for the protection of environment," he said.

Appropriate climate-responsive technologies are required to provide relief to the economically weaker sections of society, the President said.