Tirupati, January 3, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for the inculcation of the concept of Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility to connect India's leading scientific institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.
India to be among top 3 countries in science and technology by 2030: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for the inculcation of the concept of Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to connect India's leading scientific institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.
Inaugurating the 104th session of the Indian Science Congress at Sri Venkateswara University here, Mr Modi said, “We must create an environment for sharing of ideas and resources. The brightest and best in every corner of India should have the opportunity to excel in science. This will ensure that our youth get high-end training exposure to the best of science and technology to make them job-ready in a competitive world."
“To this end, I would exhort the National Laboratories to connect with schools and colleges to develop appropriate training programs. This will also help with the effective use and maintenance of our vast scientific and technological infrastructure,” he added.
Mr. Modi said laboratories, research institutions and universities in each major city region should be interlinked to function on a hub and spoke model. The hubs will share major infrastructure, drive our national science missions and be the engines that link discovery to application, he said.
“College teachers with background in research can 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,” he added.
Referring to the theme chosen for this years session, “Science & Technology for National Development”, he said the government was committed to supporting different streams of scientific knowledge, ranging from fundamental science to applied science with emphasis on innovations.
Noting that speed and scale of changes we encounter today are unprecedented, he said tomorrow’s experts will come from investments we make today in our people and infrastructure. “I have been told 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. Further, NITI Aayog is evolving a holistic science and technology vision for the country,” he added.
“One important area that needs to be addressed is the rapid global rise of Cyber-Physical Systems. This has the potential to pose unprecedented challenges and stresses to our demographic dividend. But we can turn it into a huge opportunity by research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, deep learning, quantum communication and Internet-of-Things,” the Prime Minister said.
There is a need to develop and exploit these 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 added.
“We need to develop an Inter-Ministerial National Mission in the Cyber-Physical Systems to secure our future by creation of basic R&D infrastructure, manpower and skills,” Mr Modi said.
“The oceans that surround the Indian peninsula have over 1300 of our islands. They also give us a seven and a half thousand kilometre coastline and 2.4 million square kilometres of Exclusive Economic Zone. They contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host of other natural resources. The ocean economy should be a significant dimension of our sustainable future,” he added.
“I am told, that the Ministry of Earth Sciences is working to launch a Deep Ocean Mission to explore, understand and harness this resource in a responsible way. This could be a transformative step for the prosperity and security of the nation,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said the country's 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 14% as against the world average growth rate of about 4%. 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, 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. The wheels we set in motion today will achieve this goal,” he added.
The Prime Minister said science must meet the rising aspirations of the people. 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,” he added.
“Our ability to mount and execute large, transformational national missions requires effective partnerships that integrate with a large stakeholder base. The effectiveness of these missions can be ensured only by getting out of our deep rooted silos, and adopting a collaborative approach, which is essential to address our multifarious development challenges rapidly and effectively. Our ministries, our scientists, R&D institutions, industries, start-ups, universities and IITs, all should work together seamlessly. In particular, our infrastructure and socio-economic ministries must make appropriate use of science and technology.
“Our Institutions could consider inviting outstanding scientists from abroad including NRIs for long term research associations. We should involve foreign and NRI PhD students in post-doctoral research in our projects,” the Prime Minister said.
“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 equipments in our Scientific Institutions. The desirability of establishing professionally managed, large regional centers in PPP mode housing high value scientific equipment should be examined,” he added.
Mr. Modi said seeding the power of ideas and innovation in schoolchildren woldu broaden the base of the innovation pyramid and secure the future of the nation. As a step in this direction, the Ministry of Science & Technology will initiate a programme focused on students of classes 6 to 10. The programme will scout, mentor, reward and showcase ten lakh top innovative ideas focused on local needs from 5 lakh schools.
“We must provide equal opportunities to the girl child to enrol and excel in the under-represented disciplines of science and engineering and ensure continued participation of trained women scientists in nation building,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that, for a large and diverse country like India, technology needed to span a wide range from advanced space, nuclear and defence technologies to rural development needs in providing clean water, sanitation, renewable energy, community health, and so on.
“While we excel globally, we also need to develop local solutions that fit our unique context. There is a need to develop appropriate micro-Industry models for the rural areas that use local resources and skills to meet the local needs and generate local enterprise and employment.
“For example, we should develop a host of technologies based on efficient co-generation for clusters of villages and semi-urban areas. These technologies should aim to convert agri and bio-waste to satisfy multiple needs of electricity, clean water, crop-processing and cold storage,” he added.
Stressing the role of science in planning, decision making and governance, Geo-information Systems needed to be developed and deployed to meet the development goals of the citizens, Gram Panchayats, Districts and States. A coordinated effort by the Survey of India, ISRO and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology can be transformative, the Prime Minister said.
“For sustainable development, we must take strong measures to focus on Waste to Wealth Management in the critical areas of electronic waste, biomedical and plastic wastes, and solid waste and waste water solutions.
“We are scaling up R&D on clean carbon technologies, technologies for enhancement of energy efficiency and increased and efficient use of renewable energy. Focus on environment and climate remains our priority to ensure sustainable development. Our strong scientific community can also effectively address our unique challenges. For example, can we find farmer-centric solutions to the problem of crop burning? Can we redesign our brick kilns for reduced emissions and greater energy efficiency?
“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,” he added.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister 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 Sri Venkateswara University Vice Chancellor Prof. A. Damodaram were present at the function.