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Presidential Speech 2013

Being An Engineer : Roles and Values

Er. Brijesh Dixit
Divisional Railway Manager, Central Railway , Nagpur

Engineering is nothing but application of science to problems of daily life. Therefore, an Engineer, by definition, is concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics as also his ingenuity to develop solutions for society's day-to-day problems and conveniences so much so that existence of modern day society today is not thinkable without Engineering & Engineers.

Being a Railway Engineer, I can very well say that Indian Railways (IR) has had a remarkable Engineering / T echnological journey in the service of the nation. IR has been at the forefront of technological innovation and introduction of the latest state-of-the-art technologies all through its existence since 1853. Y ou can well imagine it was “Railgadi” only , in those days of “Bailgadi”, road and air transportation being non-existent at that time. IR was the very first modern enterprise introduced to largely rural, feudal and traditional India at that time, having lost the lead, it had earlier amongst the nations of the world.

IR introduced DC Electric traction for suburban electrical trains, way back in the year 1925, just as it appeared in the other parts of the world, and then the more economical stateof-the-art design of 25KV AC traction was adopted way back in the year 1957. IR was one of the first big organizations in India which started using mainframe computer with punching cards, the iconic 'IBM 1401', in the year 1959. IR's mammoth Computer Reservation System was introduced in the year 1985 when computers were still at a very nascent stage the world over and much more so in India. Similar technological marvels in the field of Mega Bridges, Mega st at i ons, Tr ack Mai nt enance, Rol l i ng st ocks and l at est Si gnal i ng & T elecommunication technologies etc. were adopted to make Indian Railways as modern as the other advanced world Railways. The technological gap visible with leading world Railways today is a recent phenomenon which has to be reversed sooner than later .

There are so many other fields like Nuclear Science, Space Science etc. where achievements of Indian Engineers have been outstanding and well recognized the world over, we have indeed done wonderfully well. The whole world is afraid of the prowess of our ITengineers and even USAand its President feel threatened by them. The country has to replicate this success story in many other fields for creating jobs & make India shine even brighter.

An Engineer's professional journey starts from the Engineering College. Though the engineers receive much of their technical training there, there is very little imparting of soft skills and hardly any instillation of values & ethics. It is, professional bodies like 'Engineers Forum' and such others, which have to fulfill this gap, and I am happy , they are so active, as we all are seeing today , here. My compliments and best wishes to them.

V alues are like 'light houses' guiding the individuals to navigate through their life. They are 'code of conduct', without which society will be nothing but chaos. They provide much wider context to your behavior, much beyond your technical actions. Work culture of an organization, as I see, is the sum total of the behavioral inheritance of the successive generations. 'Work culture' provides the general environment in which all individuals with their own value systems function. So, while 'values' are more at personal levels, though even many organizations are known for their values maintained & nurtured over the years, the work culture is at organisational levels.

We are singularly fortunate, as we are just going to hear today , directly from such a distinguished practitioner of 'values' and creator of 'work culture', who has created such giant land marks as Konkan Railway & DMRC. It is on the foundation of these values only , he was able to fast track creation of these marvels, despite, so many odds and obstacles. Millions of the people use them daily and wonder how he could do so, where as others only give excuses, for even much smaller things.

India is called a young country as 65% of its population is below 35 years of age. With such a large young population, we have a historical opportunity . If everybody is given good education & appropriate jobs we can fully realise our true potential and claim our past glory . And that is where, role of Engineers as infra builder comes. India produces more than 30 lakhs fresh Graduate & Diploma engineers every year. If all the young engineers are helped develop their value systems as also provided enabling environment, we can take care of a large number of our problems like unemployment, lack of infra, low economic growth etc.

Learning and education continuous lifelong. Here I wish to quote, Henry Ford who said “Anyone who stops learning is old whether at twenty or Eighty . Anyone who keeps learning stays young”. And who can be a better example of this than our Hon'ble Chief Guest today Dr. Sreedharan. I will further quote Earnest Hemmingway, who said “There is no friend as loyal as a book”. And to quote once again, Steev Jobs, the legendary creative and innovative genius who the world recently lost, had said “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” So friends, always stay tuned to the latest, the best and the brightest.

I hope & wish that, all of us present here today will derive an inspiration from Dr. E. Sreedharan and his achievements, on this momentous occasion of celebrating the Birth Anniversary of another great Engineer, rather the greatest one Shri Visvesvaraiah.

Thank you. All the Best. JAI HIND !