Surat, Feb 12 (PTI) President Droupadi Murmu on Monday expressed happiness on the rising number of women in engineering colleges and applauded them for choosing the stream.

President Murmu, who was the chief guest at the 20th convocation of Surat-based Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT), urged graduating students to use their technical and problem solving skills and innovative thinking for nation building in the fields of engineering and science.

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At a time when artificial intelligence (AI) is being talked about everywhere, engineering institutions like SVNIT should work together with the corporate sector, NGOs and other institutions to reduce the AI skill gap, she said.

"It is a matter of happiness that the number of girls in engineering colleges and institutes is more than before. I applaud them for getting education in science and technology and making their careers in this field," President Murmu said in her address.

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"I specially thank those who have received degrees and medals. I would urge National Institutes of Technology (NITs) to run programmes, campaigns and workshops to encourage more girls to study in engineering and technology institutions," she added.

President Murmu said she recently met a women's startup group whose members are contributing significantly to the country's progress and providing jobs.

"After meeting them, my belief deepened that women have and will continue to play a leading role in developing the country," she said.

She urged graduating students to use science as their "guide and charioteer," and deploy their technical skills, problem solving skills and innovative thinking "for nation building in engineering and scientific fields."

"You not only have to find engineering solutions in line with international standards but also set new standards for innovation, efficiency and sustainability," Murmu said.

Today AI is being talked about everywhere, and the Centre and state governments are introducing programmes to bring the benefit of this technology for the development of citizens, President Murmu said.

She said big tech companies are also launching new projects to increase India's AI capacity and its use.

"It is important that engineering institutions such as SVNIT work together with the corporate sector, NGOs and engineering institutions to reduce the AI skill gap. Talented youth like you will play an important role in taking India forward in the newest and fast changing technologies like AI and machine learning," she said.

She said SVNIT has adopted some nearby villages and is working to find affordable and sustainable solutions through research and innovations, and expressed confidence such efforts will also be made by the youths sitting in the hall.

"Wherever you go in the world, remain connected to your institution and your roots. This will take you forward and help in making your life fulfilling," she advised graduating students.

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