"The way the situation in the world is changing there is a great opportunity that has come in the way of India. The world keep facing its challenges and (in) the last few years India has started leaving its footprints behind.
"And when India is leaving its footprints behind, becoming one of the faster economies in the world, it obviously means that the opportunity for India and Indians is going to increase," Mr Jaitley said while addressing the 17th convocation of University of Jammu.
The university conferred 185 degrees to candidates, who have qualified for the award of doctor of philosophy in 2015-16 up to December 31, 2016, besides 59 students were awarded gold medals, cash awards and certificates of merit.
The finance minister said: "We are looked at as one of the bright spots in the world, and over the next one or two decades, our potential to retain that position of fast growing economy as China did in the last three decades belongs to India".
Asserting that the Jammu and Kashmir would have been the most affluent part of the country if not struck by insurgency, Mr Jaitley hoped that the educated youth will lead the state to achieve its objective of bringing peace and ensure development of all the regions.
"I always wonder to myself where does a state like Jammu and Kashmir stand in the whole story. Conceptually, if all is well with a limited population, a large area, the most beautiful spots in the world, handicrafts, a good agriculture and the best of the pilgrim centres, and if all has been well historically, this should have been theoretically the most affluent part of this country.
"But unfortunately, the curse of insurgency struck us and I must say as a tribute to the academic fraternity, I say this because I have the opportunity to interact with students over the last 20 years in the valley as every time there has been a parliamentary delegation, I have had the opportunity of being part of it. Amongst all of the delegations which used to meet us, when I used to come back, the most impressive used to be the students from the university there," he said.
Mr Jaitley further said the student community, despite living in the midst of a disturbed environment, excelled academically.
"I am sure, it is quite likely that ultimately it is this resilience and the opportunity that they see for themselves, which is an opportunity, which probably may end up bringing what is the ultimate objective as far as the state is concerned, which is to bring peace in the state and work for the development of the state," he added.
The minister agreed with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who sought support of the Centre in taking the state to new heights, and said there are some factors which would remain constant like pilgrim centres, the potential of tourism and agriculture, but a large investment in the human resources of the state in terms of skill development and in terms of education will definitely make a huge difference.
"We need to work together to create a quality infrastructure in the state highways, tunnels and connectivity and that is something which is being attempted," he said, adding that the states away from ports face the challenges as far as trade, manufacturing are concerned except the local produce.
"Some of the areas have a geographical disadvantage. We need not merely isolated centres of excellence, but we need a whole sea of them. We don't need islands of excellence but we need whole ocean of them," Mr Jaitley said.
He noted that the state is famous for its handicrafts but today's world requires people with skills to deal with almost any profession.
"Those who do not get the benefit of highest level of education as far as quality is concerned certainly can be skilled to enter into various professions," he added.
The minister advised the students to broaden their horizon and look almost everywhere, inside and outside the country to take advantage of the globalised world.
"There is a demographic differential, which is taking place and the demographic differential is that there are many society across the world, which has lesser number of people who can manage their economies. Therefore, they are looking at men of talent, the best minds to come from elsewhere in order to run their system," he said, adding that there is a huge scope and look beyond the geographical boundaries and think in terms of not merely baby steps.
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