Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi set the tone for the 103rd Indian Science Congress which commenced in Mysuru on Sunday by reposing country’s faith in science and in its scientists and said that confidence of future of India is because of its faith in the scientific community.
Delivering the inaugural address of the flagship event, Mr.Modi said India had made giant strides in science and said that India’s success spans from the core of the tiny atom to the vast frontier of space and the country was once again turning towards scientists and innovators to realize the goals of economic welfare and development of 1.2 billion people and address problems plaguing India. India was witness to another revolution in the present times, one of empowerment and opportunities in India. “”We are once again turning to our scientists and innovators to realize our goals of human welfare and economic development’’, said Mr.Modi.
The 33 minute speech of the Prime Minister touched upon the entire gamut of the major plenary sessions and themes listed for discussions in the Indian Science Congress ranging from agriculture and forestry sciences to biotechnology and marine sciences, space, urbanisation, Mr.Modi stressed on urbanisation and environment and said the world was on the cusp of entering an urban era with more than 2/3rd of the world population living in the cities while 50 per cent of India’s population would live in urban areas by 2050.
Besides, by 2025, 10 per cent of the global urban population would be in India where more than 40 per cent of them live in slums devoid of humane living conditions and deprived of access to quality life. This throws up fresh problems, said Mr.Modi who referred to the smart cities project sand said they set the vision for sustainability of the cities.‘’We need sound policies for achieving our goals but also depend on science and technology for securing our future’’, said Mr.Modi. As we increase the level of our ambition of our people, we will also have to increase the scale of our efforts, said the Prime Minister.
He stressed the imperatives of greater emphasis on scientific tools to improve city planning with sensitivity to local ecology and heritage pointing out that good governance is not just about policy and decision making, transparency and accountability but was also about ‘’integrating science and technology into the choices we make and the strategies we pursue’’, he added.
A significant aspect of the Prime Minister’s speech was his indication to bridge the gap between the scientific institutions of the Central and the State Governments. ‘’It is with the same spirit of cooperative federalism that is shaping centre-state relations in every area, that I am encouraging greater scientific collaboration between Central and State institutions and agencies.We will also try to increase the level of resources for science, and deploy them in accordance with our strategic priorities’’, said Mr.Modi.
Fossil fuels and clean and renewable energy, rivers, climate change, sustainability, scientific innovation and integrating it with development, solid waste management, need for clean air and environmental issues formed part of his speech. A significant portion of it was was devoted to importance of oceans and the Prime Minister said ‘’we are at the cusp of a new era, where oceans will become important drivers of our economies. Their sustainable use can bring prosperity; and, give us clean energy, new medicines and food security beyond just fisheries’’, said Mr.Modi. ‘’Ocean is critical to India’s future, too, with over 1300 islands, a 7500 km coastline and 2.4 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone’’, he added.
More than 15000 delegates from across India are attending the 5-day conference being hosted by the University of Mysore to mark its centenary year and the theme of this year’s conference is Science and Technology for Indigenous Development in India.
Some of the salient features in Modi's address
>> We have enhanced food and health security; and, we have given hope for a better life to others in the world.
>> As we increase the level of our ambition for our people, we will also have to increase the scale of our efforts.
>> Good governance is about integrating science and technology into the choices we make and the strategies we pursue.
>> Our digital networks are expanding the quality and reach of public services and social benefits for the poor.
>> I am encouraging greater scientific collaboration between Central and State institutions and agencies.
>> We will make it easier to do science and research in India.
>> Innovation must not be just the goal of our science. Innovation must also drive the scientific process.
>> We succeeded in bringing innovation and technology to the heart of the climate change discourse.
>> We need research and innovation to make clean energy technology available, accessible and affordable for all.
>> Cities are the major engines of economic growth, employment opportunities and prosperity.
>> We must develop better scientific tools to improve city planning with sensitivity to local ecology and heritage.