Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech was projected live at the Alumni Association Seminar Hall at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), once known as BE College in Shibpur, Howrah.
Around 200 students and officials attended the projection. Some classes had to be cancelled so students could attend the lecture from 11 am to 12:20 pm.
At Vishwa Bharati in Shantiniketan, a three-day seminar was already on at the Lipika auditorium. Teachers and students attending the seminar watched the prime minister's address. Those present did not wish to be named but said attendance was thin.
"We had made arrangements. Students and officials attended," said Sabujkali Sen, director. IIEST officials who did not wish to be named said nothing wrong with a prime minister's address but it was at very short notice and it did feel like an imposition. "But it was a good speech and at many pints, students clapped," one of those present said.
West Bengal's higher education minister and top Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee did not mince his words. "The two institutes should have been more vigilant. They knew we had objected to the UGC circular telling universities to project the PM's speech. But perhaps officials there were trying to save their jobs," he said.
On 7th September, UGC chairman VS Chauhan wrote to vice chancellors of all universities to ensure that the PM's speech from Vigyan Bhavan could be heard by teachers and students at 10:30 am on Monday on campus.
"A programme that could be life changing" he wrote.
The theme of the event was "Young India, New India - A Resurgent Nation: From Sankalp to Siddhi". The prime minister spoke of 125 years of Swami Vivekananda's Chicago address and Deendayal Upadhyay. This is his birth centenary year.