"Contribute towards fulfilling the vision of housing for all through technology which would enable rapid construction of economical, eco-friendly and structurally sound houses," Modi said addressing a conference of chairmen of boards of governors and directors of IITs at Rashtrapati Bhawan here.
Modi said that he "refused to believe that India does not have the talent to make things" and has to depend on imports.
"India is critically dependent on imports, ranging from defence equipment to the health sector, to sensitive and security-related items like currency ink and tear gas," he said.
Stressing that "science is universal, technology must be local," Modi called upon Indian Institutes of Technology to give their students projects related to local needs and requirements, so that they can find innovative solutions while pursuing their studies.
"This would lead to a positive change in the quality of life of people, besides instilling a sense of 'service' towards the nation, among the bright young minds at IITs."
Calling IITians a "great force" he added that while "global rankings" were important, India should also set up its own parameters for rankings, which would serve as an in-built mechanism for change and improvement.
The prime minister also called upon IITs to adopt nearby engineering colleges, and play a role in mentoring these.
He asked the institutions to search for neighbourhood innovations, which could serve as inspiration for path-breaking changes.