NEW DELHI: In an inspiring address to 200 Times Scholars handpicked from among over 3 lakh students who enrolled for the programme, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said students should set high goals in the careers they choose and follow through with self-discipline, hard work and perseverance.
Delivering a virtual address at an event to felicitate winners of the 2019 Times Scholars programme, a Times of India initiative that seeks to inculcate the reading habit among the young, Naidu said students must not look at education merely as a means to get a job, but as a path to get enlightened and to become good human beings.

“I am happy to know that at the heart of the programme is an endeavour to promote reading, especially reading of newspapers among students. I have always believed that a well-read student is definitely better prepared to overcome challenges in life and seize every opportunity that comes his or her way,” he said.
Naidu also emphasised the need to teach children to be “intelligent and discerning readers”. “Circumstances also demand that we teach them to navigate through all the misinformation and fake news that infest the media landscape, especially the new media environment today. Like the legendary bird, the ‘hamsa’, our children must be able to assimilate and absorb the truth and discard the lies,” the VP said.
He added that he was confident the Times Scholars programme would help mould a generation of scholarly youngsters who read to broaden their horizons and raise their aspirations.
Pointing to new challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Naidu said students must develop a strong emotional quotient to cope with the unprecedented situation.
Practise yoga to improve physical and mental health: Naidu to students
All of you are young and need to develop a strong emotional quotient and the ability to weather ups and downs in life,” Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said, advising students to practise yoga to improve their physical, mental and spiritual health, improve concentration levels and inculcate discipline.
The Times Scholars programme is a unique initiative, rooted in TOI’s belief that it is our duty to create a responsible class of citizens — discerning and humane — by encouraging the young to read to broaden their vision and discover that learning can be pleasurable. It requires all students who register to read TOI each day, specifically the article or news graphic carrying the “Times Scholars” marker. These comprise the syllabus on which students are tested and cover a vast range of subjects, including science, technology, social issues, politics, global developments, economics, and much more. In another unique initiative, each of the winners got to deliver a speech — of five words apiece. It might not seem possible to say anything consequential in so few words, but the Times Scholars rose to the challenge, and exhibited their creativity in the process. So, while Ananya Giri Upadhya said it was “something inspiring during the pandemic”, Mainak Ghosh vowed, “We’ll realise the Indian dream”. Neerja Parag Kasture said, “Words can’t express my happiness” and Pragya Jha urged fellow scholars to “Think better. Dream bigger. Disrupt.”


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