The Final Showdown: NIT Conclave 2019
A PRECAP TO THE 9TH EDITION
The stage was all set. The curtain was yet to be raised. With the dawn of 23rd August, NIT Rourkela was all buckled up to kickstart the day to host the 9th edition of grand NIT Conclave 2019. All the consistent efforts, hard work, and day-night full swing preparation were yet to be paid off. With few running butterflies in the stomachs, the team wished not only to transform this mammoth event into a grand success but also hoped to win everyone’s heart and live up to the expectations of other NITs. Finally, with an ambitious dream and a practical framework to boost entrepreneurship and technical skills among the youths of our nation, the conclave commenced on the afternoon of 23rd August 2019 and continued till 25th August 2019. NIT Rourkela was standing high at the façade of the citadel to vouchsafe a warm welcome to usher in the delegates from NITs across the nation with ebullience and remarkable gusto. The three-day-long conclave fostered numerous trailblazing events that provided another dimension to the perspective of people of various NITs to think and analyze meticulously upon the various issues faced by different NITs from ground zero and how they could work to propose feasible solutions. The final draft documented with proposals obtained from rigorous discussions and deliberation are put forward to the NIT Council and ultimately forwarded to MHRD, Govt. Of India.
Here is the list of the participating NITs in NIT Conclave 2019:
NIT Andhra Pradesh
NIT Rourkela (Host NIT)
Below is a detailed excerpt covering all that happened during these 3 days of the mega event:
COMMENCING IN NITRIAN'S WAY- DAY 1
INAUGURATION AND OPENING CEREMONY
As the three day extravaganza commenced, the conclave team had a well-planned registration in BBA wherein the delegates were provided with T-shirts, I-D cards and a kit followed by an informal photo session where the delegates were spotted in an ecstatic mood posing distinctly and the whole photo session produced a delightful aura embraced with fierce and brotherhood.
The inaugural ceremony for the 9th edition of NIT Conclave was held on 23rd August 2019 in BBA at 2:30 PM with a delay of 30 minutes. Chief Guest Mrs Aparajita Sarangi (Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency), Director Prof. Animesh Biswas, Prof. S.K. Patel (Dean Student Welfare), Prof. Seemita Mohanty (SAC President), Prof. S.N. Alam(Faculty Advisor, NIT Conclave 2019) and Kuldeep Namdeo(Convener) on the dais lightened the ceremonial lamp to commence the program. Prof S.N. Alam welcomed all the dignitaries, delegates, colleagues and students. He said that NIT Rourkela was proud to be the host of the 9th edition of NIT Conclave and also added that this would be the place where the dreams will thrive and become a reality. Thereafter Prof. Seemita Mohanty was called upon the podium to address the audience. In her articulation, she laid emphasis on startups and also prompted students to gain entrepreneurship mindset and concluded by iterating the lines,
Greatness does not come from reaching a certain position, it comes from assisting people to build their future.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof S.K. Patel threw light on NIT Rourkela’s glorious past and also focused on the fact that its evolution over a period of semi-centennial is a testimony to the robustness of its foundation.
Director Prof. Animesh Biswas happily stated that it was a privilege to have Mrs. Sarangi as the Chief Guest and talked about various achievements of NIT Rourkela.
Chief Guest Mrs. Aparajita Sarangi was then requested to address the audience. Madam Sarangi is a former IAS officer, former Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development, former Bhubaneswar Municipal Commissioner and former Secretary of the Odisha's Mass Education Department.
At the outset, she conveyed her heartiest greetings to all the participants. She said that all the participants exemplify hope, optimism, and belief of the nation that the nation is marching ahead in the right direction. Thereafter she spoke on various aspects that transcend India's history. Speaking on India as the fastest growing economy, she stressed on the fact that this time is the best time to be born in India and our country is on the cusp of a major transformation.
On further encouraging the audience, she emphasized on the importance of Big Dreams by quoting a famous line by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam,
Dream, Dream, Dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in actions.
Talking about the demographic dividend of India, Mrs. Sarangi said,
We are a young country and we have an advantage but as we ride on the crest of demographic dividend, we have to be very conscious of the fact that this young population is both a challenge and opportunity. For the next three days, all of you would be in the intellectual stimulation exercise and will be thinking about innovation that's what India needs today. Ours is a cherished nation and our nation has to be at great heights and all of you sitting here have the responsibility to take our nation to new horizons.
She concluded the lecture by saying a few lines,
I would rather be a meteor with every atom in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The guest lecture was then followed by an address by the Convenor Kuldeep Namdeo. And finally, all the dignitaries on the dais hoisted the NIT Conclave shirt to commence the Conclave.
The Hackathon “an event inviting computer programmers and other enthusiasts to think out of the box and come up with solutions to real-life problems" had 30 participants, constituting 15 NITs. The event was held in Lecture Avenue. The event was an overnight show started at 6:30 pm on the very first day and concluded at 6:30 pm the next day.
Problem statements had been released to the teams a week before the conclave. There were three problem statements given to the delegates:-
- Automation in paperwork and procedures in the institute.
- Inter-NIT Communication platform.
- Use Augmented Reality to help students explore the NIT campus.
Apart from the above three themes participants were free to work on any other themes as long as it is related to NITs. Any other project would have been disqualified.
The energy and passion for programming and software development were clearly visible amongst students. With a wide range of exciting domains to work on and 24 hours to code for, this was the platform for participants to convert their ideas into innovative solutions.
The event was managed by an executive committee of Open Code and its members were present throughout the event to provide technical support. Food and beverages were also provided throughout the night. The Judges for the competition were Prof. Sambit Bakshi, Prof. Sumanta Pyne, and Harsh Arya. The criteria for judging were as follows:-Ideas (Out of the box thinking), the originality of the idea, feasibility, scalability, marketability, and implementation of the idea in the real-time scenario.
WHEN IDEAS MEET INNOVATION- DAY 2
With the dawn of a rejuvenating day, the participants were refuelled with maximum zeal and avidity after flavoursome breakfast was served to them to start their productive day with many exciting events ahead in the waiting list. The first event of the day was the ‘Institute represent presentation’ which was scheduled to start at 8.30 A.M. but got delayed by one hour and commenced at around 9.30 A.M. With the theme being “Technological Development in NITs: Enhancement of Research and Entrepreneurship Opportunities”, each team representing an NIT was supposed to deliver a presentation highlighting the various aspects of research and development and scope of enhancement of entrepreneurship skills in their respective colleges. The session primarily focussed in promoting the ideas of start-up initiation, technological incubation and imparting quality technical education and hence its development. There were sixteen participating NITs including the host institute and one delegate from each NIT was called upon to the dais to present their stances. Every one of them was given 10 minutes of presentation time followed by 5 min of QnA session. Starting from NIT Calicut and ultimately ending with NIT Rourkela, young technocrats were surely enlightened with various new positive approaches undertaken by various institutes of national importance. Here is a brief excerpt of the conduct of the presentation event.
NIT Calicut was the curtain-raiser of the event that enthralled the whole audience with their extraordinary presentation. The delegates of NIT Calicut threw light upon various aspects of technological incubation and scopes for R&D in their institute. The delegates introduced the audience to Technical Business Incubator(TBI) in their institute that ensures the development of start-ups. Currently, around 60 companies are working under TBI. TBI acts as a medium that bridges the gap between authority and young entrepreneurs. The units incubated in the TBI, generate employment for at least 300-350 people. It also provides workspace to the start-ups and various professional services.
NIT Silchar, situated in a remote location lacks various industries around, that consequently enhances the cost expenditure in that region. Despite various oddities, it has been capable to initiate and build Innovation Labs, Research Promotion Cell(RPC) and is in the plan to host Srijan, the annual E-Summit in January 2020.
It was a fresh start for NIT Pondicherry and NIT Andhra Pradesh since they were the ones to attend NIT Conclave for the very first time. Both the NITs got their permanent campus approved by MHRD very recently, however, they have left no stone unturned in emerging as fastest developing institutes in the field of technological incubation among all other NITs. NIT Pondicherry fosters a high-tech Quad-Copter which features UV sensors and has the capability to detect flaws and cracks in buildings. It also harbours windmills at the top of their Science Block that facilitates a major proportion of energy procurement through the means of renewable sources of energy. Koyakal, a start-up by one of their alumni has proved to be a global success in restoring the forgotten Koya (a type of wood used in craftwork) and bringing its significance to the social mainstream.
SVNIT Surat, located in the heart of the diamond city of India has been successful in producing various jewels in the form of young entrepreneurs. SCOSH (Society for Cultivation of Science and Humanities) has been successful enough to inculcate the significance of R&D in various fields of science and humanities. The institute also harbours the Clean Environment Research Center (CERC) that primarily focusses in spreading awareness about a clean environment and various technological developments that could be brought into the concerned field.
There were numerous other NITs who presented a vivid picture of entrepreneurship and technology development scenario in their respective colleges and gave a positive vibe of enhancing entrepreneurial skills among the audience.
In regards to the presented topic, Prof. SN Alam, the Faculty Advisor of NIT Conclave has got this to say:
The presentations are really lovely. It’s very interesting to get to know about what all things are happening in other NITs based on this topic. I was also an entrepreneur after my graduation. I one day, wish to see everyone as a CEO. To be an entrepreneur you should be brave in all aspects. You never wish to become ‘naukar’ right?
The most interesting part of the day was the start-up hunt that commenced after the lunch session. The 16 participating NITs were equally divided into two panels with each panel consisting of eight teams. One of the panels had its session in Metallurgy Dept. PG Seminar hall and another in TIIR auditorium. It was supposed to be conducted at ME seminar hall but due to projector malfunction, the team got to shift one of the panels to TIIR auditorium. The session at the TIIR auditorium started at around 3.30 pm. It was a closed room pitching session in which the participating NITs had to put forth their start-up ideas only in front of the panel with no other NIT’s delegate allowed to be present inside at the same time. The judges of the session were Prof.Indranil Banerjee, Prof. Singam Jayanthu from Mining Dept. and a representative of E-Cell. Out of 16 NITs, five were selected for open pitching session that was to be presented in front of Sohrab Sitaram, CEO, and Founder of Keventers the next day. The five NITs that got the opportunity to put forth their start-up ideas were NITK Suratkal, NIT Calicut, NIT Patna, SVNIT Surat, and NIT Uttarakhand.
The socio-cultural night which was scheduled to start at 5.30 pm in the evening got delayed by around two and a half hours due to various unavoidable circumstances. Though there was a bit of disappointment among a few for such a long delay, their enthusiasm accompanied by elation couldn’t subdue their patience to witness the most awaited session on the agenda. Just before the session commenced, Sohrab Sitaram joined the audience to witness the cultural night. It was quite remarkable to find a good bunch of audience in BBA even after it started raining cats and dogs out of nowhere. The first performance by Heartbeats, the official fusion club of NIT Rourkela left the entire audience astounded with awe. A series of four soothing music made the atmosphere absolutely lively and awesome. Sohrab Sitaram, in addition to being an entrepreneur, is also a great musician. He was invited to the stage to share some of his absolutely stunning skills over the keyboard that resulted in applause accompanied by a standing ovation. Next on the list was a skit entitled, ‘Chota Pariwar, Sukhi Pariwar’, performed by Ritvic, the official cultural club of NIT Rourkela under the supervision of SAS officer, Mr. Nalini Nihar Nayak. Ultimately, Synergy, the official dance club of NIT Rourkela, left everyone awestruck with their exhilarating power-packed dance performance. The multitude savoured every moment of this dynamic session taking behind enormous memories.
The Day 2 was all wrapped up by 9 PM. With a starving stomach and a tiring face, the delegates and the conclave team headed back to the south block guest house to relish a sumptuous meal at the Gala Dinner.
The day wasn’t over yet. There were few things in the bucket list which were still on the verge of fulfilment. An Open Mic session was arranged in the SAC premises to give an opportunity to the people to share their expressive thoughts and feelings. In the end, skywatch was also organised at the Chemical Dept. rooftop to get a glimpse of the night sky.
THE CONCLUDING CHAPTER- DAY 3
PANEL DISCUSSION AND DRAFTING CEREMONY
The event which was scheduled to start at 8.30 A.M. was delayed by one hour due to some unavoidable reasons. The event commenced at 9.30 A.M. at Bhubaneswar Behera Auditorium (BBA) though it was supposed to be held at TIIR initially. A huge crowd gathered to witness the event. The event consisted of two parts. One part was Panel discussion and another one was Drafting. The delegates from all the participating NITs shared a common platform and voiced their opinions on various issues pertaining to NITs. The delegates from NIT Trichy and NIT Raipur came late for which the event was delayed to some extent. Panellists were themselves the audiences for the event. A lot of topics were addressed in the event which included the brand value of NITs and IITs, research opportunities, start-ups etc. The panel discussion was broadly classified into two types; on-record and off-record. All the important parts were noted down by a member of the organising team. The questions that popped up during the QnA session were pretty interesting. The questionnaire consisted of some burning ones like, “Why IITs are famous for start-up ideas and implementation?”, “Why students from reputed institutes are choosing job placements over research opportunities?”, “Why more number of students are looking for MBA degrees?” and many more. The audiences were allowed to share their views on certain topics and they were given a certain time period to represent their ideas and suggestions. The most accepted opinions were noted down and were considered for further drafting. After so many arguments and discussions, the event came to an end at 11.50 A.M. after a delay of 20 minutes.
It was followed by “Insight into NITR”, a presentation showcasing various aspects of NIT Rourkela, infrastructure, campus and a lot more. It threw light on the glorious history of NIT Rourkela, its rich culture and campus life which left the audience mesmerized for a moment.
After a sumptuous lunch, the second phase of Startup Hunt commenced at BBA. First was the start-up project, 'Green Thumbers' by NIT Patna. Prof. Rajeev Kumar Panda and Prof. Santanu Kumar Behera were assigned as the judges for this event along with Dean(SW) Saroj Kumar Patel and Mr Sohrab Sitaram. “Green Thumbers” is basically a project based on farming and gardening for the plant lovers. It was followed by the start-up projects by NIT Uttarakhand, NITK Suratkal, NIT Calicut and NIT Surat. Some of the start-up ideas like “Green Thumbers”, “Margdarshi” and “Ampivida” got huge support from the crowd and were highly praised by the judges. For every project, two questions were allowed from the audience whereas there was no limit for the judges.
It was followed by an interactive talk session by Sohrab Sitaram. He was the keynote speaker of today’s event. He shared how he was able to transform his initial meagre thought to a present 100 cr. project. He also motivated the audience to work hard and keep faith in work. He quoted,
Life is never easy. You have to always fight for what you want. Keventers has always been my dream start-up project. This project has made me what I am now. So, always follow your passion and try to love your work in your own way.
The event started at 7.20 pm accompanied by grand applause by the audience in BBA. Dean (SW) Prof. S.K. Patel and Faculty Advisor of NIT Conclave 2019, Prof. S.N. Alam were the invited guests for the valedictory programme. Dean S.K. Patel was the first speaker of the session followed by Prof. S.N Alam. He congratulated all the members of the organising team as well as the convenors for successfully conducting the ninth edition of NIT Conclave. He also congratulated all the delegates for their active participation and wished good luck to all of them for their future endeavours. Thereafter, Prof. Alam also thanked the audience and the whole team to make this event a grand success. Prof Alam in his own words uttered,
I hope, you all have enjoyed it very well. I would like to thank all the delegates for participating in this 9th edition of NIT Conclave. I would also like to convey my good wishes to all the convenors and the organising team for their successful efforts. This event has been very exciting so far. I hope you all have gained some good experiences and some of the fondest memories being a part of this grand extravaganza.
Here is the list of the winners for the various events organised in NIT conclave 2019,
The NIT Rourkela team which represented the institute constituted Pratyush Ranjan for Institute presentation event and Jerin James and Alen Thankachan for the Hackathon event and unfortunately zero participants for the Start-up Hunt event.
Team MM caught up with convenors and some delegates to know about their experience in this grand conclave. Nitin Balaji, a 2nd year CSE student from NIT Trichy says,
It was an amazing experience. I got to know a lot of new people. I don’t think there could be any better place where thousands of excellent ideas came from wonderful people. It is indeed an opportunity for us to connect a network with all these people and get to know about other NITs and try to improve the entire NIT community to a whole new level. NIT Rourkela startup culture is commendable. Inviting the CEO of Keventers as a keynote speaker was a great thing and hats-off to NIT Rourkela for doing such a marvelous task.
Shambhavi Singh, one of the convenors had got this to say regarding the management of the events,
We wanted all the NITs to be here this time. But unfortunately it couldn’t happen. Though we tried our best to manage all the events on time, somehow the events got delayed mostly due to rain. Our plan was to encourage the entrepreneurship and the start-up ideas and I think this time we have managed to conduct all the events successfully even after so much difficulties.
Team MM congratulates all the convenors and the members of the organizing team for conducting the ninth edition of NIT Conclave successfully and wishes best of luck to all the people including delegates involved in every other way for their future endeavours.