Asking the students to decide now what they want to do in life, he said, "decide what your mission is. With dedication, doggedness and tenacity success will be yours. Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela won Independence for their countries through these qualities".
Speaking about China making huge monetary investments in education and development of science and technology producing 23,000 PhDs annually and generating the same amount of research work, he said, "China and South Korea are coming up with quality students so that they can compete with the best and become number one as the future depends on science and technology".
He said "this is the role of IITs and other institutes to make India number one. That is the effort you have to make.
There will be a lot of challenges, don't ever think you cannot succeed. You have to succeed. it depends on you."
Stating that if government has healthy policies and society gives more support then India will succeed, he said that in the pre-Independence era when there was no IIT or government support for research, India produced eminent scientists like J C Bose, Noble Laureate C V Raman and mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan because of their passion for research.
Speaking about himself, Prof Rao said, "I am 84 years old and have been researching for the last 68 years. I am doing research to do what I can for this great country till my last breath".
He also exhorted the IIT graduates to always remain humble as "greatness and simplicity go together. Have your feet on the ground. Make India on top of the world".
Altogether 1,308 students - including 583 B-Tech and 36 B-Des, 20 MA, 119 MSc, 363 M-Tech and 27 MDes, and 155 PhDs - received their degrees at the Convocation.
Prof Rao also gave away the President of India gold medal to the Institute toppers among the B-Tech and B-Des programme students and Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma gold medal to the student adjudged best in general proficiency.
Presenting his report on the activities and achievements of the Institute during 2016-17, IIT-G Director Prof Gautam Biswas said as per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), India Ranking 2017, the Institute was placed in the 8th rank among all the participating universities and institutions and 7th among the top engineering institutions in the country.
Click here for more Education News
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)