08 Apr 2019 17:58 IST

Poverty will be vastly reduced by 2025, says Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister, an alumnus of the college, was addressing students of SRCC on its 93rd annual day

Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) held its 93rd annual day on April 6 with college alumnus and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as the chief guest. Another alumnus, a former Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, was the guest of honour.

SRCC Chairman Ajay S Shriram welcomed the guests and addressed the fraternity. He said, “Opportunities in higher education are expanding rapidly with new private colleges and universities as well as new international institutions. Students have choices and only the best colleges will get recognition. We need to, therefore, continuously raise our standards to maintain our leadership.”

New opportunities, challenges

Arun Jaitley emphasised the role of the college as a quality institution that has shaped many business leaders. Jaitley reminisced how India has changed and how the opportunities and challenges faced by today’s students are very different from what they had to face earlier.

Jaitley said, “It is always a privilege to be here from where many of us passed out and I am sure that 20-40 years down the road, most of you will also be nostalgic. I often talk about the different level of opportunities available then and now. What is this country going to be like? Today, the Indian economy is oscillating between 5th and 6th largest, depending on what the dollar rate is. In 2011, the Census showed that 21.9 per cent of India’s population was below the poverty line and I assume that it should be approximately 17-18 per cent now. You see an exponential growth and that is because of the aspirations of those who come from a less privileged background. Once, they improve their quality of life, they aspire to be at a higher level.”

Jaitley added, “Till about 18-20 years ago, we had no concept of global infrastructure. Till the early 1990s, our entire emphasis was how we would develop our own technology. The benefit of technology is that the whole world is connected now. We must have a global perspective. In a globally connected economic order, a new India has emerged that the world can no longer ignore. It is a young and aspirational India that wants to excel in all fields .”

Jaitley quoted a recent study to say that the middle-class population would increase from 18 per cent in 2005 to a likely 44 per cent in 2025. “As you look ahead you will see poverty deplete, and probably by 2030, almost half of India would be in the middle-class category,” he said.

Roadmap for college

Chairman Shriram said: “The management committee has prepared a strategic plan, with a road map to be undertaken over the next seven years We have, therefore, appointed a consulting firm that would help us implement higher educational projects. The firm will mainly focus on: enhancement of academic standards, faculty development, research, industry consultancy, international collaborations, social consciousness, alumni connect and infrastructure.”

Navtej Singh Sarna expressed his excitement to be back at his alma mater and said: “Everything looks changed in the campus, both structurally as well as conceptually. But one thing that has not changed in the last 40 years is the fire in the belly.”

The Principal, Prof Simrit Kaur, presented the Annual Report highlighting the institution’s achievements. Kaur reiterated the college’s resolve to maintain its pre-eminence in academics, research, consultancy and social responsibility.

In the past year, the college organised international conferences and workshops for students and faculty members. SRCC has signed MoUs with institutions like RBI Academy, ICLS Academy, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, and Government College for Women, Jammu. Apart from these, the college has also tied up with three institutions abroad: Melbourne Business School, Australia; Thammasat University, Bangkok, and Gedu College of Business Studies, Bhutan.

The college’s publications, such as Business Analyst, Yamuna Magazine and others were released. Awards and prizes were given to outstanding alumni and students by the dignitaries.