Inaugurating a two-day conference of Directors of National Institutes of Technology here, Mukherjee also asked the state-run engineering colleges to adopt at least one village each on the lines of 'Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna'.
"NITs should also be at the forefront of bridging the digital divide, income asymmetries and rural-urban differentiation in the country especially in view of the 'Make in India' and the 'Digital India' initiatives unveiled by the government," he said.
Asking NITs to deepen their involvement with society by creating model villages worthy of replication across the country, he said, "They must source, if required, experts from other Central institutions to provide solutions to the wide mosaic of issues that such a transformation to model villages will entail."
NITs can and need to be the connecting force between rural innovations, local employment and world class manufacturing, Mukherjee said, adding "Their work must find resonance with the needs and aspirations of our people."
This was the second conference of Directors of NITs during the present Presidency and is part of the regular and focused interaction the President is having with Central Universities, IITs and IISERs in his capacity as Visitor to these institutions.
"Directors of the NITs must provide bold, innovative and inspiring leadership. Every NIT must institutionalise quality assurance and sustenance measures in all academic and administrative processes. The key areas of focus have to be engagement of quality faculty, innovation and research, excellence in teaching, industry linkages and social responsibility.
"NITs must aim to attract the best engineering talent in the country and transform them into outstanding engineers, researchers, scientists and teachers," he said.