There has not been a single invention from India in the last 60 years that became a household name globally, nor any idea that led to "earth shaking" invention to "delight global citizens", IT czar N R Narayana Murthy said on Wednesday.
"Our youngsters have not done much impactful research work despite being equal to their counterparts in intellect and energy in Western universities," he said delivering the convocation address at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru.
Listing out 10 major inventions that Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created in the last 50 years that includes Global Positioning System, Bionic Prostheses and Microchip, Mr Murthy said these happened because students and faculty at MIT "walked the untrodden path, asked the unasked questions and used their intellectual prowess to take huge leaps".
"They demonstrated unusual courage to achieve the plausibly-impossible. The story is similar at many other western institutions of higher education," he said.
He said almost all inventions such as cars, electric bulb, radio, television, computers, Internet, Wi-Fi, MRI, laser, robots and many other gadgets and technology happened, "thanks to the research by Western Universities".
He added: "On the other hand, let us pause and ask what the contributions of Indian institutions of higher learning, particularly IISc and IITs, have been over the last sixty-plus years to make our society and the world a better place?
"Is there one invention from India that has become a household name in the globe? Is there one technology that has transformed the productivity of global corporations? Is there one idea that has led to an earth shaking invention to delight global citizens?"
Co-founder of the country's major IT firm Infosys said: "Folks, the reality is that there is no such contribution from India in the last 60. The only two ideas that have transformed the productivity of global corporations -- The Global Delivery Model and the 24-hours workday -- came from the company called Infosys."
Pointing to the problems plaguing the country such as illiteracy, child malnutrition, poor public health service, Murthy said, "I can go on and on. The important thing is to recognise that this country has no shortage of problems to be solved urgently."
He said: "Youngsters are our best hope, and there is no difference in the intellect, enthusiasm, energy and confidence between the young students at western universities and at IISc.
"Yet, when our students leave the portals of these institutions, there is not much impactful work they have accomplished in research here. What is worse is that there is not much impactful work they accomplish when they go into the real world here in India," he said.
"This is an issue that that the elders of our society like academicians, politicians, bureaucrats and corporate leaders must debate deeply and act urgently if we have to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren," he added.
Stating that this issue had not received the attention of Prime Ministers since the time of Nehru, Murthy remembered the first Prime Minister's visit to US in 1962 where he exhorted the about-to-finish PhDs to come back to the country and play a major role in creating an India where a poorest child in the remotest village had access to decent education, healthcare, nutrition and shelter.
He said the result was green revolution, white revolution, advances in atomic energy and the space programme.
Stressing that the magic of 60s should be recreated, he said "For that we have to recreate an environment of utmost respect for scholarship and for our directors and faculty in the corridors of the government, among bureaucrats, politicians and in our society.
"We have to become more open minded in welcoming foreign intellectuals and students. We have to create opportunities for our students and faculty to spend time at well-known universities abroad."
He said there must be free flow of ideas between our intellectuals and foreign scholars. "Our younger faculty must have full freedom to pursue their line of research without hindrance."