Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya
Engineer's Day 2016: When and why is it celebrated in India, and what is the theme this year? In picture: The samadhi of Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya at Muddenahalli. [Representational Image]Wikimedia Commons

India, as a country, reportedly produces close to 20 lakh engineers every year, in disciplines that range from computer science and electronics to civil and mechanical engineering. They all celebrate a special day of the year as their own in honour of the man who is considered one of the best engineers -- if not outright the best engineer -- that India has produced.

That man is Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, and India started celebrating his birthday — Sept. 15 —as Engineers' Day. A vision document prepared by The Institution of Engineers (India), says of him: "Sir Visvesvaraya, an eminent Indian engineer and statesman was born in a remote village of Karnataka, the state that is incidentally now the hi-tech state of the country. Due to his outstanding contribution to the society, Government of India conferred 'Bharat Ratna' on this legend in the year 1955." He was also awarded the British knighthood by King George V, and hence has the honorific "sir".

It also says: "He was also called the precursor of economic planning in India. His learned discourse on economic planning in India, 'Planned Economy for India and Reconstructing India,' was the first available document on the planning effort of the country and it is still held as the parent source matter for economic planners."

Acclaimed world over for his contribution to harnessing water resources, Visvesvaraya was, among other things, responsible for the building and consolidation of dams across the country. One of them is the famous Krishna Raja Sagar dam on the Cauvery river near Mysuru. He is also credited with inventing the Block System -- automated doors that close in the conditions of overflow.

Each year, Engineers' Day has a theme, and this year it is "Skill Development for Young Engineers to Reform the Core Sector: Vision 2025." As part of it, engineers and stakeholders in engineering across the country will, according to the aforementioned document, attempt to:

  • Address the prime skill factors through assessments, teaching, curriculum and real life case study.
  • Emphasise on soft skills development
  • Exercise skills in a simulated environment
  • And, customise courses to meet different customer.
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