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Prime Minister Narendra Modi stresses on Ease of Doing Science at the 104th Session of the Indian Science Congress in Tirupati


By 2030, PM Modi visualizes that India will be among the top three countries in science and technology and will be among the most attractive destinations for the best talent in the world.

By Team ABLE

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 104th Session of the Indian Science Congress being held in the holy city of Tirupati on January 3, 2016. The Congress was attended by the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, E S L Narasimhan; Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu, Union Minister for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan; Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences, Y S Chowdary; General President of the Indian Science Congress Association, Professor D Narayana Rao; and Vice Chancellor of Sri Venkateswara University, Prof. A Damodaram.

Inaugurating the conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was extremely happy on choosing “Science & Technology for National Development” as the theme for this year’s Indian Science Congress. PM Modi also paid tribute to Dr MGK Menon who expired in November 2016.

He addressed the gathering and said, “The nation will always be grateful to the scientists who have worked tirelessly to empower our society by their vision, labour, and leadership. The speed and scale of changes we encounter today are unprecedented. In the last two sessions of the science congress, I presented before you several key challenges and opportunities for the nation. Some of these important challenges are in the key sectors of clean water & energy, food, environment, climate, security, and healthcare.”

The Prime Minister indicated that the Technology Vision 2035 document released in last year’s Science Congress is now developing into a detailed roadmap for twelve key technology sectors. In his speech, he stressed on the need to develop and exploit technologies in services and manufacturing sectors; in agriculture, water, energy & traffic management; health, environment, infrastructure and Geo Information Systems; security; financial systems and in combating crime.

He implied, “Our best science and technology institutions should further strengthen their basic research in line with leading global standards. Translating this basic knowledge into innovations, start-ups and industry will help us achieve inclusive and sustainable growth. SCOPUS database indicates that India now ranks sixth in the world with respect to scientific publications, growing at a rate of about fourteen percent as against the world average growth rate of about four percent. I am sure that our scientists will further meet the challenges of enhanced quality of basic research, its technology translation and its societal connect.”

By 2030, PM Modi visualizes that India will be among the top three countries in science and technology and will be among the most attractive destinations for the best talent in the world.

“India fully appreciates the strong role science and technology plays in meeting the societal needs. We must address the problems of urban-rural divide and work for inclusive development, economic growth and employment generation. To enable this, there is a need for a new overarching structure that will coordinate with all the relevant stakeholders,” stressed PM Modi.

“Another empowering factor for scientific delivery is the Ease of Doing Science. If we want science to deliver, we must not constrain it. Building a strong Science and Technology infrastructure that is accessible to academia, start-ups, industry and R&D labs is a priority of the government. We need to address the problems of ease of access, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipment in our Scientific Institutions. The desirability of establishing professionally managed, large regional centres in PPP mode housing high value scientific equipment should be examined.

PM Modi also exhorted the National Laboratories to connect with schools and colleges to develop appropriate training programs. He said that Laboratories, Research Institutions and Universities in each major city region, should be interlinked to function on a hub-and-spoke model. He said that the hubs will share major infrastructure, drive our national science missions and be the engines that link discovery to application.

He proposed that college teachers with background in research could be connected to the neighbouring universities and R&D institutions. “Outreach activities from the institutions of eminence to schools, colleges and polytechnics will activate the latent Science and Technology manpower from the educational institutions in your neighbourhoods,” said PM Modi.

“Seeding the power of ideas and innovation in schoolchildren will broaden the base of our innovation pyramid and secure the future of our nation. As a step in this direction, Ministry of Science & Technology is initiating a programme focused on students of classes 6 to 10. The program will scout, mentor, reward and showcase ten lakh top innovative ideas focused on local needs from 5 lakh schools,” proposed PM Modi PM Modi urged scientists to develop a host of technologies based on efficient co-generation for clusters of villages and semi-urban areas. He demanded that these technologies should aim to convert agri and bio-waste to satisfy multiple needs of electricity, clean water, crop-processing and cold storage.

“Science and technology is a key factor in the Startup India Programme launched in January 2016. Two other strong initiatives are Atal Innovation Mission and NIDHI - the National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations. These programmes focus on building an innovation driven enterprise ecosystem. Further, Public-Private partnerships with CII, FICCI and high technology private companies are being pursued to strengthen the innovation ecosystem,” said the Prime Minister.
 
Concluding his speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that the Government remains committed to provide the best support to our Scientists and Scientific Institutions. I am sure that our scientists will scale up their efforts ranging from the quality of basic sciences to technology development to innovation. Let Science and Technology become a strong tool of inclusive development and betterment of the weakest and poorest segments of our society. Together, we will prevail to make a just, equitable and prosperous nation.”