History of INAE

History Of The Academy

The Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) was formally inaugurated on 11th April 1988 at New Delhi by the then Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi at a colourful Foundation Function in New Delhi.

Prof. CS Jha, Educational Adviser (Tech), Department of Education remarked in a meeting in August 1983 that in the absence of a single body representing all engineering professions, the Government of India finds it difficult to consult Professional Institutions and have the benefit of their advice. This led to the concept of establishing a National Academy of Engineering in a note dated 5th October 1983 from Prof. SN Mitra, Past President, the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers, (IETE) to the IETE Council.

Prof. CS Jha convened a meeting on 17th May 1984 of all the recognised Professional Bodies for discussing various problems on technical issues confronting the Ministry. He said that there was an urgent need for a coordinating body at the highest level whom the Government can consult on all matters pertaining to engineering and supported the creation of a National Academy of Engineering as suggested by Prof. Mitra who had earlier submitted a working paper to the Ministry of Education.

In a similar vein, Prof. Mitra wrote to The Institution of Engineers (India), (IE(I)) on 14th June 1984 as follows :

“As the very name signifies, it will be a body of intellectuals of excellence in their respective profession. It may not be out of place to mention that the first Academy was a pleasure garden in Athens which is supposed to have belonged to an ancient attic hero named Academus. The garden was walled by Hipparchus, and eventually bequeathed as a public pleasure ground by Cimon to his Fellow citizens in Athens. In this garden, the Greek philosopher Plato taught for nearly 50 years and the Academy thus started and lasted from the days of Plato to those of Cicero for over 300 years.

We see thus that the original Academy, dated from about 400 B.C., was a garden utilised for philosophic teachings and discussions. It was essentially a place where any branch of knowledge could be discussed and was completely different from our specialised societies of today. In this original Academy, the philosophers must have discussed arts, and letters, mathematics and science as well as philosophy strictly so-called : so that a true Academy, without qualification, should be on a broad basis. Another point is that an Academy is essentially a place where philosophers could meet and discuss problems, the solutions sought for being essentially suited for local utilisation, and that is precisely what we are aiming today – to set up an Academy of Engineering where famous engineers and technologists of India and abroad will meet and discuss problems that beset our country today, and apply their mind to the fact that, in India with the fourth largest technical and scientific manpower, our industrial growth is of a very low order inspite of heavy investment by the Government.

We have Professional Societies, each working after its own interest. But, we still need a coordinating body. Obviously, this body should not compete with Professional Bodies in a way that harms them. The objectives of the Academy would be such as to encompass all activities in the field of engineering and technology in a broad manner without having any conflict with any of the Professional Institutions and Societies.

The Academy which we are contemplating will consist of highest professional experts in the field of engineering and technology and will consist of men of excellence who have established themselves as pioneers in their respective fields of endeavour. The Academicians will have no parochial interest and will be men and women of professional standard and integrity befitting the Indian National Academy. The Academy’s only interest will be to ensure that the disciplines of engineering and technologies are promoted with consequent rapid industrial growth in India.

There are similar Academies of Science and Engineering in other countries where these Academies are constituted precisely in the same manner as Plato did before the birth of Christ……. An argument may be advanced that when there is an Indian National Science Academy which has a Sectional Committee of Engineering and Technology, where is the need to set up another Academy of Engineering and Technology ? But as the facts would reveal, INSA gives much greater emphasis on basic sciences than their application in the fields of Science and Technology……. One would notice that the words ‘Engineering and Technologies’are absent in its objectives.”

Reacting on the background note of Prof. Mitra, a Senior Member of the IE(I) felt that the formation of a National Academy of Engineering as a sister Institution of the Indian National Science Academy would admirably be able to create the appropriate climate for emerging new disciplines. He cited the example of a similar Academy set up in the United States in 1964, distinct from the National Academy of Science, but both working under the common umbrella of the National Research Council. He felt that by striving to develop a membership which spans the spectrum of engineering accomplishments, the Academy will serve to distinguish and honour those individuals whose personal efforts and technical achievements have raised engineering to the highest levels. In addition, such an Academy will enlist those individuals, whose organisational and leadership abilities have brought engineering potential to the service of mankind and whose talents are critical to the fulfillment of the Academy’s mission of service to the nation.

Pursuant to the decision taken on 17th May 1984, the Presidents of the Professional Bodies and their representatives met under the ageis of the Institution of Engineers (India). At this meeting setting up a National Academy of Engineering and Technology as an intellectual forum for the profession was accepted. In a second meeting of 17th November 1984, which Prof. CS Jha also attended, a new idea was mooted by the Aeronautical Society of India for the creation of a National Association or Federation or Council of Professional Institutions. It was decided that three representatives, one each from IE(I), IETE and the Aeronautical Society of India, should be asked to prepare a paper on the above Federation. The representatives from IE(I) and IETE could not attend this meeting and they disagreed with the proposal by Aeronautical Society of India. The third meeting on 8 March 1985 hosted by IETE was chaired by Mr. CR Alimchandani, President of the Institution of Engineers (India) and was attended by Dr. VS Arunachalam, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and President of the Aeronautical Society of India, amongst others. It decided to set up an Academy of Engineering and Technology. A sub-committee was also formed with IETE as Convener with IE(I), Aeronautical Society of India and the Institute of Architects as Members, to draft the Articles of Association and By-laws for the formation of the National Academy of Engineering and Technology.

In a meeting on 23rd May 1985 in which Prof. CS Jha was a special invitee, it was decided that the Academy should be named as the “Indian National Academy of Engineering”. Prof. Jha said that ofthe two concepts (i) Academy of Excellence and (ii) Federation of Professional Bodies, the Academy should be given the first preference for creation. The Professional Societies were requested to send their comments on the draft Articles of Association and Bylaws being prepared by the Sub-committee constituted for the purpose.

The fifth meeting held on 30th September 1985 was hosted by the Institution of Surveyors and was chaired by Air Vice-Marshal NK Nair, Honorary Secretary, Aeronautical Society of India. In a complete volte-face, the decisions taken by previous meetings were reversed and the proposal to establish Federation of Professional Bodies was again invoked. This decision evoked sharp reaction both from IETE and IE(I).

Since the meeting of the Professional Societies could not arrive at a unanimous decision on the establishment of the Academy, Prof. Mitra, Past President of IETE and Prof. A Bhattacharyya, Past President of IE(I) got together on 30th September 1985 and decided to jointly sponsor the Academy as was originally envisaged by IETE. They were joined by Dr. GR Toshniwal, Past President, IETE, Mr. KN Majumdar, Deputy Director General, IE(I) and Maj Gen JC Ahluwalia, Secretary, IETE to finalise the draft Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations of the Academy which were submitted in early 1986 to the Registrar of Societies for approval and registration of the Academy. The operative Ministry for the Registrar of Societies was the Ministry of Civil Supplies to whom the case was sent for approval, who further sent the Memorandum of Association and the Rules and Regulations as drafted to the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Prof. Ashoka Chandra, who succeded Prof. CS Jha as Educational Advisor (Tech), Department of Education, called a meeting towards end of 1986 which was attended by Prof. SN Mitra, Prof. AB Bhattacharyya of IIT Delhi, Mr. KN Majumdar of IE(I) and Maj Gen JC Ahluwalia of IETE. The Ministry wanted that in the objectives and the Rules and Regulations of the Academy, emphasis should be laid upon Government of India’s National Education Policy 1986. After suitable amendments, the Ministry of Human Resource Development gave approval to the word “National” and the “Indian National Academy of Engineering” was registered on the recommendation of the Ministry of Civil Supplies on 20th April 1987 by the Registrar of Societies with Prof. Jai Krishna as its President. Other Members of an adhoc Council were Dr. VS Arunachalam (Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister), Dr. GR Toshniwal (Chairman, Toshniwal Industries Pvt. Ltd.), Prof. SN Mitra (Technical Director, Toshniwal Bros. (Delhi) Pvt. Ltd.), Prof. AB Bhattacharyya (Head, Centre for Applied Research in Electronics, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi), Prof. GS Sanyal (Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur), Prof. Ashoka Chandra (Educational Adviser (Tech), Department of Education), Dr. Bharat Singh (Vice-Chancellor, University of Roorkee), Prof. A Bhattacharyya (Jadavpur University), Dr. AM Michael (Director, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi), Prof. BR Nag (Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics, Calcutta), Prof. NM Swani (Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi), Dr. S Varadarajan (Chief Consultant, Planning Commission, New Delhi) and Col. SP Wahi (Chairman, Oil and Natural Gas Commission).

The first meeting of the Council was held on 9th May 1987 at India International Centre, New Delhi. Prof. Jai Krishna presided. Dr. Satish Chandra, President, IE(I) and Shri YL Agarwal, President, IETE were special invitees to the Council. Both the Presidents offered secretarial help in functioning of the Academy.

As mentioned earlier, the Academy was formally inaugurated on 11th April 1988 by the then Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi at a Foundation Function in New Delhi. The other invitees were Mr. PV Narasimha Rao, Minister of Human Resource Development and Mr. KR Narayanan, Minister of Science and Technology.

In his Presidential Address before the august gathering at the Foundation Function, Prof. Jai Krishna said that the Academy has been established in response to the desire of the fraternity of engineers, engineer-scientists and technologists to be a “Peer” organisation composed of the best talent from the entire spectrum of engineering in the country and to promote all round excellence. The Academy would provide a Forum for futuristic planning for the country’s development requiring engineering and technological inputs and bring together specialists from such fields as may be necessary for comprehensive thinking of the needs of the 21st Century. The Academy would further be concerned with the issues of academic excellence, achievements and growth of educational systems which would finally reflect the quality and reliability of performance and products.

Another function of the Academy would be to recognise young talents who show promise in creative research in innovation and provide support in pursuance of their work. In fulfilling these tasks, Prof. Jai Krishna felt that it was extremely important that the Academy maintains its objectivity and independence in its technological recommendations to the Government.

The Prime Minister congratulated all the scientists and technologists on whose initiative the National Academy has been established. This Academy must emerge as a true centre of excellence and as a reservoir of outstanding talent to be placed at the disposal of the country.

Till the mid-18th Century, in most respects, India was at the vanguard of world technological development and it had held this position virtually without interruption from about 6th century BC and perhaps even pre-Aryan India was on par with Sumeria and Egypt. The National Academy must target India at the forefront development and technology in the least time possible as a national task.

One casualty of our education system has been the scientific teaching. With some improvement in our human resource development, we can forge ahead to the vanguard of the technological advancement.

In India today, the prime need is a higher and more sophisticated technology to meet the needs of the poorest sections of our society. The Academy must keep in mind the basic aim of poverty alleviation as a fundamental objective and act as the forum of all indigenous engineering efforts.

The major task of the Academy is to chalk out the future course of Indian engineering using interdisciplinary advantages and the vast and diverse experience that our Fellows have in India and abroad. The country expects from Fellows of the Academy to demonstrate that India can be innovative, that India can show imagination, and we can orient science & technology to the three basic directions – of indigenous development of imported technologies, of indigenous generation of new technologies and of moving to the frontiers to put Indian science & technology at the front rank in the world. The Academy’s duty will be to become an instrument for acquiring technological and scientific self-reliance and bridge the gap between what is achievable and what India must achieve.

The Academy since 1989, began a series of engineering programmes by organizing national and international conferences on topics of concern and technology policy issues.

The Academy also undertook publishing Newsletters from July 1991 and also introduced an Annual Lecture Series, to be delivered at the Annual Function of Fellows.

The Academy initiated a scheme to encourage young talents through an Annual “INAE Young Engineer Award” in 1996 for excellence in design and technology, innovative development and engineering research.

A major initiative taken by the Academy in 1996 was to constitute Expert Study Groups on Railways, Metallurgy and Civil Engineering to create an Archives of Indian Engineering Heritage.

The Academy also instituted in 1997 a “Life Time Contribution Award in Engineering” to honour eminent Indian citizens who have made outstanding contributions in ‘Engineering’, regarded as landmarks of technological development and brought prestige to the nation.

The Xth Anniversary of the Academy was organised at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. The Key-note Address on “Inevitability of Nuclear Energy” was delivered by Dr. Raja Ramanna, Formerly Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission. Prof. PV Indiresan gave a talk on Vision 2020 : What India should do ?. A publication on “A Success Story of Engineering” giving an overview of engineering and technological achievements of independent India to coincide with the 50 Years of Indian Independence was released on the occasion.

The Academy has been recognised by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO) and is an autonomous Institution supported by the Government of India, Department of Science and Technology since 1995.

Another scheme on Innovation Potential of Students Projects Award was initiated in 1998, with the object of identifying innovative research projects undertaken by students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the engineering institutions to enable promoting joint projects among industry, research laboratories and academic institutions.

The Academy in 1999 launched a Distinguished Visiting Professorship Scheme jointly with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to promote industry-institute interaction.

The Academy has been elected as a Member of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, Inc (CAETS) on 28 May 1999. The mission of CAETS is to foster effective contributions to engineering and technology progress for the benefits of societies of all nations and among its objectives are to provide International Forum for discussion and communication of engineering and technological issues of common concern.

On August 15, 2002, the 55th Indian Independence Anniversary Day, the Academy paid tribute to its Past President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, on the rare and unique distinction of having been elevated to the highest constitutional office of the nation – the President of India.

From the year 2004, the Academy has instituted two other awards: Prof. Jai Krishna Memorial Award and Prof. SN Mitra Memorial Award in memory of its Foundation President and first Honorary Secretary respectively. The Academy has instituted the Outstanding Teachers Award in the year 2013.

From the year 2006 onwards, the Academy has instituted new schemes – The INAE Chair Professorship, INAE Distinguished Professors/Technologists, Mentoring of Engineering Teachers by Fellows of INAE and Mentoring of Engineering Students by Fellows of INAE. INAE -AICTE Distinguished Industry Professorship Scheme was instituted in the year 2007. In the year 2013, two new schemes were instituted – The AICTE-INAE Teachers Research Fellowship Scheme and the AICTE-INAE Travel Grant Scheme for Engineering Students.

From the year 2008 onwards, the Academy has instituted certain Task Force to undertake studies on important/topical national issues. These Studies will bring out comprehensive/exhaustive document covering review of existing international and national technological and commercial aspects, analysis of options, future trends and specific implementable policy/recommendations and methodology of execution.

In order to assist the Government in formulating policies concerning important national issues, the Academy has instituted separate Forums on Engineering Education; Energy; Technology Foresight and Management; Engineering Interventions for Disaster Mitigation, Indian Landscape of Advanced Structural Materials, Civil Infrastructure and Manufacturing.

INAE has taken an initiative of organizing an annual mega event of engineers as “Engineers Conclave” starting from the year 2013 which will be organized jointly by INAE with Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Department of Space (DOS), Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on rotation basis. Each conclave has two themes, one specific to the host department and other specific to some social problem where engineering intervention is desired. The first “Engineers Conclave” was held jointly with DRDO during September 2013 at New Delhi and Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Hon’ble President of India was the Chief Guest. The second “Engineers Conclave” was held jointly with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from October 30 to November 1, 2014 at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The third Engineers Conclave 2015 was organized jointly with Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) at BARC, Mumbai from September 7-9, 2015. The fourth Engineers Conclave was organized jointly with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras at IIT Madras on September 1-3, 2016. The fifth Engineers Conclave was organized jointly with Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) at National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore on September 14-16, 2017. The sixth Engineers Conclave 2018 (EC-2018) was organized jointly with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on October 4-6, 2018 at L&T LDA, Lonavala. The seventh Engineers Conclave 2019 (EC-2019) was organized jointly with Bharat Electronics Limited on September 19-21, 2019 at BEL Academy of Excellence, Bangalore.

The INAE Digital Knowledge Research Centre has been set up at INAE Office, Vishwakarma Bhawan, New Delhi. The infrastructure and facilities being created at INAE Digital Knowledge Research Centre are planned in such a manner that all Fellows of INAE can have online access facility to e-journals/e-books/Bibliographic Databases etc from their respective locations.

The activities of the Academy having expanded in the recent past and due to paucity of space at the premises of INAE office at Vishwakarma Bhawan, another office space was purchased by INAE at Gurgaon, in the year 2014. INAE office at Gurgaon was ready for functioning during the first week of January 2014 and was formally inaugurated on January 22, 2014. An inauguration function was held which was attended by members of the Governing Council.

INAE “Satish Dhawan Chair(s) of Engineering Eminence” has been instituted in the year 2014 with the objective of enhancing the visibility of the Academy in the policy domain and establishing social connect. Eminent engineers who have contributed to some aspect of nation building are chosen for this esteemed position.

As per rotation policy of International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), the CAETS 2015 Annual Meetings and Convocation on “Pathways to Sustainability: Energy, Mobility and Healthcare Engineering” was hosted by INAE at Hotel Ashok, New Delhi from October 12-15, 2015.

INAE Expert Pool was created in the year 2016 with the aim of identifying domain experts in various disciplines of engineering. The Expert Pool website contains relevant details of expertise pertaining to INAE Fellows and Young Associates.

The INAE-DST Consultative Committee was constituted in the year 2016 with the aim to meet quarterly to discuss and align the activities undertaken by INAE with the thrust areas of the Government of India.

An INAE Facebook page and Twitter Handle were created in the year 2016 for enhancing Social Media Optimization.

INAE has launched a quarterly journal “INAE Letters” published by M/s Springer in the year 2016. The objective of the journal is to provide a medium for rapid publication of new research results and invited short review articles across different domains of engineering science and technology.

In order to increase the involvement with the industry, INAE has instituted the Innovator Entrepreneur Award in the year 2017; with a view to encourage and recognize innovation and entrepreneurship among Young Engineers.

An INAE Youth Forum for engineering students has been established in the year 2017, with the objective of facilitating the engagement of Indian youth in engineering activities at national level thereby enhancing engineering excellence, promoting youth leadership and assisting in nation building.

As a first activity of the Youth Forum, INAE has conducted an Online National Essay Competition in the year 2017, for the 4th year engineering students from B.Tech/ BE /BSc (Tech)/ Integrated MTech/ M.E. from all MHRD/AICTE approved institutions and universities, to conducted each year, on a specified topic.

INAE has taken an initiative of organizing an annual event for engineering students as “Youth Conclave” starting from the year 2017; with a view to encourage the involvement of youth for contributing to the engineering activities of the nation.

INAE and Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST) have instituted the Abdul Kalam Technology Innovation National Fellowship in the year 2017; with the view to recognize, encourage and support translational research by Indian Nationals working in various capacities of engineering profession, in public funded institutions in the country.

The PSA-INAE Consultative Committee constituted jointly with Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India in November 2017 to plan activities to be undertaken by INAE wherein engineering interventions are required in areas of national importance.

A Digital Platform has been instituted in the year 2018 with the objective of digitizing the functioning and operation of the activities of INAE. Additional office space procured in the same building as INAE Office, Gurgaon to facilitate implementation of the Digital Platform.

The INAE Digital Centre was inaugurated by Prof Ashutosh Sharma, FNAE, Secretary, DST at 9th Floor, SPAZE, IT Park, Tower A, Gurgaon on February 15, 2019.

INAE instituted the Woman Engineer of the Year Award in the year 2020, to recognize and honour women engineers who have made outstanding contributions to engineering/technology in India.

In the year 2020, the “INAE Letters” Journal published by M/s Springer was changed a full-fledged Journal called “Transactions of Indian National Academy of Engineering – An International Journal of Engineering and Technology”.

Two joint Consultative Committees were constituted in the year 2020 with CSIR and DRDO in order to identify topics for conduct of technical activities and programmes.

The INAE Annual Convention 2020 was held on December 21-22, 2020 on virtual mode, for the first time this year, due to the limitations posed by the ongoing Covid -19 Pandemic.