70 years of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and the CSIR Foundation Day was celebrated here today. Following is the text of the speech of Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences and Vice President, CSIR on the occasion:
“I congratulate all the awardees and their families. They have done us proud. I am sure the awards they have received, would motivate them, to enhance their R&D efforts, so as to create newer and newer innovations, benefiting our society.
The distinguished journey of CSIR - how its constituent laboratories were established, how CSIR repositioned itself time to time to deliver high quality innovation, benefitting the society, is worth learning.
CSIR performed as per its assigned mandate, promoted scientific and industrial research through its laboratories, provided fellowships, transferred technologies and disseminated research and industrial information.
Dr. Bhatnagar at the helm of CSIR had glimpsed what he had once described as, “...the dim lights of a new dawn.” His dynamic leadership gave the new nation its first eleven laboratories in the years spanning 1950-1953.
CSIR did not look back. It was an uphill climb, struggling with a lack of resources. Yet…from chemicals to glass and ceramics; from physics to metallurgy; from tractors and food products to fuel research…CSIR was everywhere; meeting the needs of the people of a new Nation.
Most importantly it also began to build trained human resource, which in the final analyses, is the deciding factor transcending every other resource. Today too, the schemes of CSIR cover a wide spectrum, ranging from 15 years to 65 years of age. Perhaps, there is hardly a scientist anywhere in India who has not benefited from at least one of these schemes.
This great heritage you have inherited.
Our nation has been lucky that CSIR was founded at the right juncture. We had a great visionary in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Prime Minister, who alongwith Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar nurtured CSIR in its formative years and put it on a well thought out path which CSIR treads dedicatedly, even today. This path is the unique one and is driven by the philosophy of “challenge oneself”. CSIR has followed it in letter and spirit and has challenged itself to do better and better and thus it moved further and higher. The significant role of subsequent Director Generals in enhancing CSIR’s S&T prowess in their respective regimes is praiseworthy. I thank them, some of them are present here. I also thank CSIR Leadership Team on this occasion.
Today we remember, Pandit Nehru and Dr. Bhatnagar and pay our tribute. Respected Prime Minister, CSIR have been fortunate that you always went out of the way to find time, out of your busy schedule and guided CSIR. Your advice and directions have not only challenged the CSIR system but motivated it to achieve unachievable. Sir, you are aware, CSIR has put in place the CSIR@80: Vision & Strategy 2022 as per your direction and scientists in the system are committed to achieve the performance targets for CSIR@80.
One can speak for hours about CSIR, the outputs and outcomes, it has achieved. I remember, CSIR had brought out the encyclopedia named Wealth of India. Aptly named this publication covers all of India's raw material resources be it plants, animals or minerals. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote and I quote: "I have no doubt that this book... will be of great value to the builders of new India. It should be of value also in educating the average citizen, who should take interest in this fascinating land and its enormous potentialities".
Even in the 21st century this publication is an authentic source to establish India’s biodiversity and traditional knowledge. It played a major role in backing up India's claim against the US patent on turmeric; the case that paved the path for the globally appreciated Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) project.
CSIR has been a partner in the nation’s industrial development for indigenous capacity creation after India’s independence. With the change in policy regime, CSIR endeavored since 1990s and successfully developed patent protected technologies. Beyond 2005, it focused on the development of niche creating globally competitive technologies.
CSIR is granted 90% of US patents granted to any Indian publicly funded R&D organization and has a wide portfolio of patents in its armoury. About 9% of its patents are licensed, a number which is above the global average. Amongst its peers in publicly funded research organizations in the world, CSIR is a leader in terms of filing and securing patents worldwide.
Major industry houses of India and innumerable MSMEs have benefitted from CSIR. CSIR’s contribution to the development of North- Eastern States is commendable. CSIR is documenting economic impact of many of its technologies through a systematic effort.
CSIR has pursued cutting edge science and advanced knowledge frontiers. The scientific staff of CSIR only constitute about 3-4% of India’s scientific manpower but they contribute to 11% of India’s scientific outputs.
CSIR is the fountain head of innovation in the Country. In the present economic scenario, its efforts are of immense value. I would like to see CSIR connecting to international innovation systems more and more, for the benefit of the society. I am glad to see that CSIR and National Innovation Council (NInC) have come together to make an economic difference for the MSME clusters. Also, CSIR through its CSIR-800 programme is putting concerted efforts to improve the quality of life of people at the bottom of economic pyramid through desired S&T interventions.
The DG, CSIR Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari, an outstanding scientist, an ardent visionary, a perfect executor and achiever. CSIR in no way can fall behind to achieve the targets set for it, I would like CSIR to achieve all what it has planned through its vision document much before 2022 that is the pledge CSIR Scientists and Staff should take today”.