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New Delhi, 2047: Gautama Raju, along with Arjun Das, Meera Gupta, Ziya Khan, Pooja Shah, and Amarjit Singh, were just awarded the National Impact Award from the prime minister. This is indeed a memorable milestone in Gautama’s promising life.


Gautama was the first person from his coastal village in Andhra Pradesh to get a college degree. It was just a few decades or so back that Gautama caught the attention of his teachers and parents with his fervent passion for reading and learning. His talent and hard work earned him a prestigious scholarship to attend a nearby high school. Gautama’s interest in chemistry, biology, languages, and history grew with each passing day. He represented his school in Sanskrit and Telugu debate competitions and wrote articles for his school’s weekly newspaper. For fun, he played soccer and cricket and listened to music. While in eleventh class, he and his friend built a prototype of a new type of solar cell that won the school a first prize in a national science competition.


Based on his high school results, science projects, glowing recommendations from teachers, and thirst for learning, he was given a full scholarship for his undergraduate studies at one of the premier research universities in the world—the National University of India (NUI), Gandhinagar, Gujarat. He completed a dual degree in chemical engineering and Indian history with a minor in Sanskrit. Gautama and his faculty members agreed that pursuing a PhD degree at one of the fifty NUIs matched well with Gautama’s loves—learning, innovating, and making an impact in India.


His research work while earning his PhD broke new grounds in solar chemistry. He continued his research after joining NUI Varanasi as a professor of chemistry and chemical engineering. His discoveries and inventions spawned a new homegrown solar cell and storage industry. The National Impact Award, the most prestigious form of recognition from the government of India, includes Rs ten crores (US$1.5 million dollars) in prize money. Gautama Raju received this award for making an impact at a national scale and helping solve India’s energy challenge.


Gautama Raju, forty, has a bright future. Raju’s journey and accomplishments also bodes well for the over twenty million students who are graduating from colleges and universities in India in 2047. There are many and diverse choices for studying and employment for all. World-class research universities, and master’s level colleges and community colleges have become hubs for learning, and making an impact in society. The structural barriers that once held back the engines of economic and employment growth have been addressed. Now, entrepreneurship, research, innovation, and industry-university collaborations are thriving across all fields around the country.


This is India’s new Golden Age!

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