Himachal Pradesh University organised 19th Annual Convocation to confer degrees and medals. Dr. Mritunjaya Sharma was conferred D.Lit in music. P.hd. degrees (Honoris Causa) were conferred upon Rajeev Shukla, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Padamshree Pratapsingh Ganpat Rao Jadhan, Alkshendra Singh, in Social Sciences and Prof. Dr. Mahesh Verma for Dental Sciences.

141 Ph.Ds. and 114 Medals were conferred on meritorious achievers in different disciplines. The Governor Urmila Singh, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, conferred these awards to the achievers.

Speaking on the occasion, Urmila Singh exhorted the students to know their role in right perspective and act accordingly. She also exhorted the teaching fraternity not to limit their teachings to the subject specific but focus the same upon overall empowerment of the students so that the country was developed economically besides educationally and intellectually. She said that education was the sole mode of overall development of the human being which was necessary for making the future of the country bright. She expressed happiness that women and girls were outnumbering boys in different achievements and said that it was a positive sign of women empowerment. She said that youth were the greatest of all the powers and was more capable in talent and capacity than the youth in many countries of the world. She said that the youth needed to be inculcated with the feelings of nationalism, socialism and human values so that India could emerge the supreme power in the world. She congratulated the degree holders and medal winners a bright and prosperous future ahead.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the State Government was endeavoring to enhance the percentage of college students from 24 percent to 50 percent against the national average of 12 percent. He said that the State Government was spending about Rs. 2.00 lakh on providing university level education to each student per annum. He said that the literacy percent had increased in the State substantially during past years which was a positive sign of development. He said that the position of the State had also been alleviated in human resource development indicators to third rank in the country. He lauded the achievements of the girl students which were outnumbering the boys in almost all the fields. He said that the State Government had launched a number of schemes directed towards women empowerment which included preferential admission of single girl child into various vocational and professional colleges. He said that the State was making rapid strides on educational front and had emerged a role model in the country. He said that quality education was being emphasized which could help students in their career building.

Chief Minister laid stress upon the need to carry electoral reforms by making participation of every eligible elector mandatory so that each one becomes partner in strengthening the democratic system in the country. He said that the electoral process happens to be the democratic exercise to decide about the government. He lauded the endeavour of the University authorities for bringing out the ‘Vision Document – 2020’ and hoped that all out efforts would be made to follow the guidelines envisioned in the document. He gave away Gold Medals to the meritorious students in different disciplines of education and wished them all a bright and successful future.

Dr. S.Y.Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India, delivered the Convocation address revealing the vision of the Commission of holding elections that were completely free of crime and abuse of money, based on a perfect electoral roll and with full participation of voters. He said that India happens to be the largest democracy in the world with about 740 million electors on electoral rolls which was more than the population of both North and South American continents taken together or all the countries of Europe combined. He said that during past 61 years, the Election Commission had conducted 15 elections to Lok Sabha and over 350 elections to State Legislative Assemblies, thereby facilitating a peaceful, orderly and democratic transfer of power. He said that 1.10 crore manpower was constantly on rolls to carry the election process flawlessly, fairly and democratically. He said that the democratic set-up of the country was so strong that not even one elector is deprived of the right to voting, no matter where he lived. He said that India happened to be a pioneer in giving right of voting to men and women equally while America gave it 131 years after its Independence, United Kingdom after 100 years and Switzerland only in the year 1971.

Dr. Quraishi said that Model Code of Conduct was the brainchild of politicians to regulate their electoral process in a fair and democratic manner while the bureaucracy had been responsible for completion of the elections by maintaining neutrality. He said that the Commission was considering Electoral Reforms to bring about more transparency in the process and provide more rights to the electors. He expressed concern over the corruption in the society and wanted its eradication.

Dr. A.D.N.Bajpai, Vice Chancellor, HP University, welcomed the dignitaries, read out exhortation. He proposed vote of thanks as well saying that all out efforts were being made to make Himachal Pradesh University a centre of par excellence learning. C.P. Verma, Registrar of the University conducted proceedings of the Convocation.

I. D. Dhiman, Education Minister, Prof. Arunoday Saha, Vice Chancellor, Tripura University, Suresh Bhardwaj, MLA, Onkar Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Sonal Agnihotri, Superintendent of Police, Dr. O. P. Sharma, Director of Education, teaching faculty of the University and prominent people of the town were present on the occasion.