IIMB’s 47th Foundation day

Healthcare is not charity for the poor or a commodity for the rich – Dr. Gagandeep Kang

IIMB’s 47th Foundation day celebrated this and more on the 28th of October, 2020. One of IIMB’s unique traditions is the Foundation Day Lecture, where outstanding individuals are invited to deliver the special lecture to commemorate the institute’s founding day. This year, Dr Gagandeep Kang, the first woman from India to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society, delivered IIMB’s Foundation Day lecture, in virtual mode, and emphasized the need to reimagine the healthcare system in the country with a strong research ecosystem and better collaboration between state and non-state actors.

The entire program – from invocation, lighting of the lamp, student cultural program, awards of long service to faculty and staff, the Director’s speech to the Foundation Day lecture itself – was a seamless digital event.

Explaining the evolution of modern or allopathic medicine in India as a system, Dr. Gagandeep Kang said today we can broadly classify Indian healthcare as ranging from the best-in-class services that are available to the relatively wealthy and insured population that never need to access a government hospital to everyone else without the luxury of choice. “And within that latter category, are who can access some form of healthcare from some system of formal medicine and others for whom reliance on informal care or what is available in their communities is the only option.”

She went on to say that despite economic growth over the last two decades, we often hear that India’s healthcare system is broken. “However, we have been improving our statistics related to infant mortality, maternal mortality and immunization,” she observed. 

Discussing the lack of emphasis on healthcare in our country, she said that India spends a very low proportion of its national income on public healthcare. “In the structuring of medical education, in the building, staffing and running of health and wellness centres, in the regulation of healthcare providers at all levels from the village to the five-star hospital, and of the industry that provides drugs and devices, there are failures of form or function that need attention”.

The speech was followed by a Q&A session, moderated by Professor Rajendra K Bandi, Dean, Administration.

Dr. Gagandeep Kang is the first woman from India to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. She is also the first Indian woman to be elected to Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology and is the only physician-scientist to receive the Infosys Award in Life Sciences.

Dr. Devi Shetty’s address

Apart from the lecture by the Chief Guest, there were addresses by Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIMB, and Professor Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Director, IIMB, mostly about resetting ourselves in view of the current situation – in business and in health. 

“Dr. Kang is a distinguished virologist whose policies are being adopted by the government to deal with COVID”, said Dr. Devi Shetty and pointed out that although Covid has turned our world upside down, there were few positives brought about by the crisis as well. Talking about the growing popularity of telemedicine, he said: “What would have taken five years before, took just five weeks post-Covid. Telemedicine was illegal before Covid came, now it has been legalized. People have embraced it too. In the field of academics as well, there was a lot of debate about online education before, now it is a reality. All these are the need of the hour and beneficial to society.”

He advised the students to always keep themselves motivated, especially at such crucial times. “You students had entered management college with a clear plan in mind, but when you graduate you will enter a whole new and different world of business, so be prepared for the same. The pandemic could make us disillusioned. But remember, if there is one country that will emerge as the winner in this crisis – it is India. That is because we have learnt to manage ourselves amidst adversities, we Indians are very adaptable. So, start working to build a new India which we all would be proud of”.

IIMB has plans aplenty 

Professor Rishikesha T Krishnan in his address thanked students, faculty and staff for helping the institute sustain its scholastic excellence and enhance its digital learning experience, while achieving a seamless transition from classroom to online learning during the pandemic. He described the efforts of the IIMB community in dealing with the effects of the pandemic, and had a special word of appreciation for NSRCEL – IIMB’s start-up hub – which has been collaborating with IISc and other top institutes to work with start-ups that are finding innovative solutions to COVID-19 challenges. He had a special word of thanks for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in supporting IIMB, significantly.

Lauding the Centre for Public Policy for organizing a vibrant global conference with eminent speakers from across the world in August, Professor RTK also congratulated the IIMB faculty who continue to receive top honours and awards, and who have been conducting webinars and writing thought leadership articles in the media, including Rajasthan Patrika, thereby reaching a hitherto unreached audience. 

“Students have taken to the online medium with elan, organizing events like Eximius with great speakers. Other events like the business fest Vista and the IIMB Business Conclave are in the pipeline – showing that our students have adapted remarkably to the new normal,” Prof. RTK said. Sharing the exciting news that IIMB’s three degree-granting MBAs are among the top 100 globally in the Financial Times world rankings, he listed IIMB’s initiatives in the coming years — a  four-year UG programme in the liberal arts from 2023 (the school’s golden jubilee year), creating high quality digital education for hospital management and public policy, an online bachelor programme in entrepreneurship, and impactful research across multiple disciplines including MSMEs, manufacturing and healthcare. “We are building the new campus with highest biodiversity standards while protecting and strengthening the biodiversity on our existing campus,” he added.

Awards for faculty and staff

The Foundation Day celebrations also saw Long Service Awards being presented to faculty and non-teaching staff who have completed 40, 30, 20 and 10 years of service at the institute.

The Foundation Day celebrations began with the vibrant and upbeat IIMB anthem, ‘Hum hain IIMB/We are IIMB/Proud of our legacy’. The welcome address by the Chief Administrative Officer, Col. (Retd.) S D Aravendan, was followed by an evocative invocation by students – Vaibhav and Smriti, and digital lighting of the lamp. Glimpses of virtual events that took place through the year were shown – inauguration of batches, cultural programs, quizzes, faculty-student meets, the entrepreneurship summit Eximius, and more.

The IIMB community of faculty, former faculty, students, staff and alumni were part of this digital event.