Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences urged children to study science, pursue a career in research and avail the facilities available under other components of INSPIRE programme of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Inaugurating a National Level Exhibition and project competition under INSPIRE programme here today he said, “This country needs the creative force that all of you collectively possess. Your scientific leadership will determine India's leadership among nations. And, looking at your energy and enthusiasm, I am fully convinced and assured that this great country of ours has a secure future in the hands of all of you.”
Referring to our Scientific Policy Resolution of 1958 , the Minister said that the key to national prosperity, apart from the spirit of the people, lies, in the modern age, in the effective combination of three factors, technology, raw materials and capital, . Technology is perhaps the most important, since the creation and adoption of new scientific techniques can make up for a deficiency in natural resources, and reduce the demands on capital. But technology can only grow out of the study of science and its applications.
Shri Deshmukh said, “Despite our large population, the number of scientists actually doing Research and Development is woefully small. It is just about 1,70,000 according to some estimates. The number of scientists per million populations is about 137 as opposed to 4663 in the US, 1071 in China, 4627 in Korea and 7707 in a small country like Finland. We need to drastically increase these numbers if we are to improve our competitiveness. Improved job opportunities in other areas like IT and ITES, management, etc., on the other hand, is causing bright young children to move away from science and a science-based career.” The Minister specially appealed parents and guardians to guide their children in right direction of scientific pursuits.
Giving details about Inspire programme, the Minister added that, “Realising an urgent need to attract bright young children to science apart from attraction, support by a continued mentorship and fellowship programme all the way through the Ph.D and post-doctoral stage is required to arrest such talented manpower. And, thus was born INSPIRE !!! It is the first-ever scheme, on such a large scale, to attract talented children to studies in science and continuously nurture such talented students to flower into creative R&D professionals. This is the first such scheme in the world too at this scale. And, the scheme has been imaginatively designed to motivate children in the age brackets of 10-17 when the individual makes a decision about his career in our country. The first component of INSPIRE, therefore, very appropriately targets children in this age bracket. This component SEATS, an acronym for "Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent", has two parts, the first being a once in lifetime, Rs. 5000, and award to 2 students per school in the country for preparing a science model or project. Such projects are systematically evaluated and filtered through district and state-level competitions to make it to the national level exhibition. And, here we are, for the first such National Level Exhibition of such projects.
Shri Deshmukh said that we need Science, Technology and Innovation for an enlightened society based on a rational value-system. “No wonder, it was Pandit Nehru who coined the great phrase "scientific temper" and always talked about inculcating scientific temper in all our people. Scientific creativity is ultimately human-centric! While the method of science is universal and objective, the major shifts in paradigms are all sparks of human creativity. The only difference, perhaps, is that scientific ideas get tested through the objective methodology of science, “he added.
The Department of Science and Technology granted more than 4 lakh INSPIRE awards in the 11th Plan period so far. 70,000 students have already attended 250 Science Camps and interacted with icons in science including Nobel Laureates. 5600 students are already studying science and receiving Scholarship for Higher Education and another 1000 students are pursuing Ph.D. under the INSPIRE Fellowship.
691 Awardees are participating in this exhibition.The state of Maharashtra is leading with 157 participants, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 99 and Karnataka with 74 participants. The winners for regional, state and national levels will be accorded the awards day after tomorrow.