I’ve had the privilege of knowing EMPI since its inception in 1995 when my good friends Gurnam Saran, and Ajit N. Haksar persuaded me to be involved in mentoring the creation of an Institution with a difference – EMPI. The driving force was the visionary youngster, Pankaj who managed to bring us all together to create this Group out of virtually nothing.
I’d seen and known Pankaj from before since he was a young boy and I was Secretary, Electronics, Government of India. He had submitted a proposal to the Department of Electronics, Government of India for setting up a Human Learning & Cognition Lab, a first in India, along with American Universities. This Project was visionary and I appreciated the vision and thinking of the youngster.
Post my retirement he got my dear friend, Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman of Infosys, to inaugurate an ICT Think Tank at EMPI Campus, the Vittal Centre for Management & Governance Informatics (VC-MaGtics). I reluctantly agreed as he had the support of Murthy and I thought the Centre shall be just a Think Tank. It turned out to be much more.
In one of our meetings with the Indian Knowledge Outsourcing Industry, an idea was born to create a Science park in India and then started in 2006 a long journey to create a Special Economic Zone that integrates Industry, Academia, and Government. The idea spun out like two very large Projects, one with Hon’ble Mr. Narendra Modi Ji, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat who I knew very well; the Gujarat Vittal Innovation City as a JV with the State Government of Gujarat and the Government of Korea's, Korea Land Corporation as a co-developer; and the second as the Andhra Pradesh Aerospace, Defence, Electronics Park, a JV with the APIIC, Government of Andhra Pradesh, near Bangalore. On the way, we've encountered many obstacles, but it was Pankaj's perseverance that prevailed. Along our long path, we've also helped shape India's Hardware Policies and the Aerospace & Defence Policies working along with the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, and the Defence Minister, Mr. Manohar Parrikar.
EMPI has also been instrumental in helping set up the ReserWater Innovation Foundation, India's largest planned water innovation initiative. The Foundation is working closely with the Government of Canada and the National Skills Development Corporation to jointly develop a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for water training, standards, certification, etc., a first in India. Further, the Foundation is actualizing Projects for waste-water recovery, Ganga cleaning, and policy advisory. The Foundation has proposed directly to the Hon'ble PM to enable an Act of Parliament for providing a legislative framework for the entire Ganga Mission.
Thus I am glad to see EMPI has become, not only an Institution of excellence but has gone beyond the Institutional realm to create a platform for incubating innovative, groundbreaking initiatives at the national and international levels, thereby living up to its credo of ‘Innovating Futures’.
Patron Chairman and Chief Mentor, EMPI