Says India Needs to Leverage the Ability of Modern Science to Deliver Value to Society-Dr. Manmohan Singh
Says Our Basic Research Must be Directed to Make New Discoveries with Innovative Efforts to Develop Affordable Solutions Suited to Indian Condition
Also, Our Science Should be A Driving Force Propelling India as A Resurgent Civilization Which Holds Out Both Hope and Opportunity for Our Young Citizens
S.Jaipal Reddy Says We Need to Scale Our Innovation Chain
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today inaugurated 101th Indian Science Congress here in Jammu. Peaking on the ocaasion he said India needs to leverage the ability of modern science to deliver value to society and our basic research must be directed to make new discoveries with innovative efforts to develop affordable solutions suited to indian condition. He also emphasized that our science should be a driving force propelling India as a resurgent civilization which holds out both hope and opportunity for our young citizens.
Dr. Manmohan Singh said the 2013 Science, Technology and Innovation Policy reflects our ambitions and outlines our broad approach. He said we have strengthened the research and academic base of the country as a critical foundation to achieve these goals and have also taken a number of measures to make a career in science more attractive.
The Prime Minster said our ability to contribute to the world of science depends crucially on the quality and the strength of our educational system. Science education in our country requires much more attention. In the next few years, we will have the largest young population entering higher education. We must find, therefore, ways and means of encouraging them to take up the right path that will provide them not only productive employment but also excitement in their profession. He said We need to ensure that the best among our young people take up science as a career and to do this we must ensure that it is attractive enough for them to do so.
He said the five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research we have created have added a new dimension to excellence in the cause of science education. We have also established eight new Indian Institutes of Technology and converted an existing institution into an IIT. Access to education in these high-calibre institutions has more than tripled in ten short years. This is a significant development.
Dr. Manmohan Singh said to do science, someone must pay for it. We must increase our annual expenditure on science and technology to at least 2% of our GDP. This has to come from both government and industry. In countries such as South Korea, where a high percentage of the GDP goes to science, the contribution of Korean industry is indeed very significant. He said our Department of Biotechnology has activated private public partnerships in R&D in biotechnology. He also appeal to the corporate sector to join hands with the government in realizing the goals that have been set for more our nation.
He referred to the announcement of a new scheme INSPIRE to attract talent into science studies and research made in the Vishakapattanam Science Congress and said this scheme has today emerged as one of our Government’s most highly acclaimed and recognized programmes. It has rewarded more than one million children and generated over 400 patent-grade innovations from our young Indians.
He said a major research funding organization, the National Science and Engineering Research Board, has just started functioning. This Board is managed by scientists and it has simplified funding procedures. We expect much more from it in supporting individual scientists as well as groups of scientists in creating small units devoted to crucial sectors at the very frontiers of science.
He also referred to the launch of India’s Geo-Stationary Launch Vehicle, powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine, soared majestically into space a month ago. He congratulated scientists in ISRO for having mastered the technology of liquid hydrogen rocket engines and said the launches of our Moon and Mars Missions are testimony to the giant strides we are now making in Space for which our Space Scientists deserve genuine credit.
Dr. Manmohan Singh said Indian nuclear scientists are attracting global interest in their effort to develop a Fast Breeder Reactor.He expected the prototype under construction in Kalpakkam to be completed this year. It will be a great day for Indian science and technology because we will be one of the few countries in the world with leadership in a completely new area of nuclear technology that can contribute non-polluting electrical power.
He also referred to the achievements of Ministry of Earth Sciences and said We now have the ability to issue alerts within 13 minutes of a tsunami-genic event. This has established India’s scientific leadership in the Indian Ocean region.
He desired to to see continuous improvement in our monsoon prediction capability through the recently launched Monsoon Mission so that we avert the kind of calamities that we saw in Uttarakhand last year.
Dr. Manmohan Singh said recognizing the role of scientific inputs for accessible and affordable healthcare programmes Government has established a new department for Health Education and Research and efforts to discover drugs for neglected diseases are beginning to bear fruit. A Rota Virus vaccine, a new drug for malaria and many other leads emanating from collaborative research are all reassuring developments.
He said in the last ten years, several national missions have been launched in the emerging priority areas of electronics, electric mobility and solar energy. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has leveraged Open Source Innovation for discovery of drugs and found a lead for TB. CSIR has also ventured into the new world of data-intensive discovery and large data systems.
Dr. Manmohan Singh further said we have also devised several ways of supporting young scientists as well as senior scientists in the last ten years. The J.C. Bose and Ramanujan Fellowships, and other similar initiatives, are intended to ensure that science is attractive as a profession, and capable individuals get adequate support for their research work.
The Prime Minster informed that a new initiative is the institution of 25 Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowships, under which eminent scientists anywhere abroad are invited to work in India for 12 months over a three year-period. The Government has already selected the first five Fellows. They are Prof. M. Vidyasagar, a distinguished computational biologist at the University of Texas, Prof Srinivas Kulkarni, a distinguished astronomer at Caltech, Prof. Trevor Charles Platt, a distinguished geo-scientist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada, Prof. Srinivasa Varadhan, a distinguished mathematical scientist at New York University and Prof. Azim Surani, a distinguished life scientist at the University of Cambridge. All of them are Fellows of the Royal Society and one is an Abel medallist.
He said Government must also focus on creating new opportunities for our bright and socially conscious scientists. To ensure food security and to improve land and water productivity, we have to launch a national drive for an ever-green revolution. This will test the ingenuity of our agricultural scientists. Climate-resilient agriculture and modern bio-technological tools hold great promise. Use of bio-technology has great potential to improve yields. The Prime Minister added that while safety must be ensured, we should not succumb to unscientific prejudices against Bt. crops. He said our government remains committed to promoting the use of these new technologies for agricultural development. He urged scientific community to increase communication and engagement with society at large in explaining socially productive applications of technology alternatives and for improving the productivity of small and medium enterprises.
The Prime Minster said Government has invested in many areas to ensure that India remains at the cutting edge of science. He announced another National Mission on High Performance Computing with an outlay of Rs. 4500 crores. We are also considering establishment of a National Geographical Information System with an outlay of about Rs. 3000 crores. A National Mission on Teaching to enhance the esteem of our teachers is also being launched,he added.
He also announced that that India will partner the international scientific community in the establishment of some of the world’s major R&D projects. In the Gravitational Wave experiment, India intends to host the third detector. He said A Neutrino-based Observatory is proposed to be established in Tamil Nadu at a cost of about Rs 1450 crores. India is also joining the famous CERN institute as an associate member.
He said we must also seek global leadership in at least some research and development areas. Affordable innovations for human healthcare, sustainable agriculture, clean energy and total solutions for water-related challenges are some areas where Indian science can seek global leadership.
Dr. Manmohan Singh said science has not yet got its proper due in our value system. He expected science to be high in our value system so that our entire society provides both moral and material support for its development.
Referring to the selection of Professor CNR Rao for the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna he said let be this only the first step in creating an environment that gives birth to many more Bharat Ratnas in the field of Indian science.
On this occasion Dr. Manmohan Singh also awarded some the scientists the ISCA Awards. Among them are: Dr. Rajender Lakshman Karandikar, Prof. S.M.Pal Khurana, Dr. G.Shrireesh Reddy, Prof. P.C.Trivedi and Prof. Abhijeet Bannerjee. He also awarded and felicitated Dr. Y.T.Lee, Nobel laureate, Prof. Yashpal, Prof. R.P.Bhamba, Prof. Krishan Pal, Prof. N.S.Dhalla, Prof. Avtaar Kishan,Dr. T.Ramasami, Prof. A.K.Sood, Prof. Avinash Chander, Prof. V.P.Kamboj. Prof. I.J.S.Bansal, Prof. Ashok Saksema,Prof. S.P.Singh and Prof. R.P.Bhamba. The Prime Mniste also released a book written by present ISC president Prof. R.C. Sobti and Dr. G.S Rautrla titled as” India’s Culture of Science- Glorious Past and Bright Future”.
Earlier in his Key note address Union Minister and Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Shri S.Jaipal reddy said in the one year since the time the science, technology and innovation policy was announced, wide ranging national consultations on implementation of the policy at 20 locations spread all over India have been held. Four Science and Technology Policy research centres have been initiated at different institutions in the country. We are finalising the setting up of six centres. He said I am confident that with these initiatives, in times to come, well researched evidenced based studies will guide our policy and support mechanisms for research, innovation and technology development, at all levels.
Referring to the Prime Ministers’ advice “We would like to pioneer a model of innovation that addresses problems in areas such as poverty eradication, people’s health, rural communications, development of agriculture, development of animal husbandry, green energy and similar other challenges” , he said CSIR has launched a programme- the ‘CSIR Technology-enabled Villages’ (TECHVIL) , where for about twenty-five village clusters it would be provide relevant technological interventions and skill development platforms. The National Innovation Foundation has recorded nearly 2 lakh innovations of the people, by the people, for the people in the last three years. These provide useful insight into how solutions developed from the bottom up approach in some of the most challenging public service environments can better meet the needs of our citizens. Winning Augmentation and Renovation (WAR) for water has delivered sustainable solutions of water related challenges and their innovative deployment to 193 villages covering 1.53 million people during the last two years. He said India has shown repeatedly during the last decade that she can lace her innovations with affordability. Pioneering and celebrated examples of such affordable innovations are CDACs Super computer, Param and our low cost tablet, Aakash. Also without even wireless broadband India has the second largest Mobile VAS subscriber base.
Shri Reddy said Ministry of Earth Sciences has been able to showcase the benefit of reliable and accurate prediction of tropical storms when Phailin hit the coast of Odhisa. In the Space science sector, our probe to Mars being well on its way and to our recent success in GSLV launch, the country has joined an elite club in space technology space. On the whole, 2013 has been a remarkable year for the science sector and I am pleased to feel part of our successes. He said Bangalore is considered to be the fourth-largest technology cluster in the world. Over 5000 patents are filed from there and most patents are not just from the Research and Development wings of Multinational corporations located there. I am told Infosys, ranks second after Accenture, among IT Services Company in US patents filing. Similarly Hyderabad alone contributes almost 20% of the development activities of SAP. Some of the most appropriate IT innovations in recent times have come from India. Our Biotechnology sector is respected globally. New drug leads for human health care have emerged. Rota Virus vaccine from India has received global attention. Regulation science is a critical need of the hour. Scientific approaches to regulation of biotechnology based applications need special care and wise policy inputs. The Minister said Government has been able to release more than 1.5 million awards under INSPIRE during the last five years. Our hopes for the talent pipeline have been raised considerably. Hundreds of young people in the age group of 10-25 demonstrating ability to innovate have been spotted and rewarded under various schemes. The National Innovation Council has set up at a pilot level the Tod Fod Jod programme in schools and colleges in Delhi, Vadodara and Karnataka to foster an enquiring mind set and creativity. The Ministry of Human Resource Development is establishing 1000 National Innovation Fellowships for children. Sir, there are several initiatives in the arena of cultivating and fostering innovation in the country, I sanguine that in the years to come we will witness many more innovative solutions, both formal and informal, emerging from India.
The Minster said we need to scale our innovation chain. I would like to announce the launch of three important initiatives. A New plan for scaling innovation which would serve the needs of common man is being launched. Special overseas scholarships for bridging national gaps in critical and frontier areas of scientific research are being launched. The Ministry proposes also to mount joint virtual institutes in areas like advanced manufacturing, climate change science etc. He said his ministries in association with other sister ministries and departments are launching some game changing programmes in mega science, high performance computing, National Geographical Information System and many more.
Shri Reddy said Government has been highly supportive of the science, technology and innovation sector. Selection of Professor CNR Rao for the award of Bharat Ratna and several scientists to Padma awards of the country is symbolic of the importance being attached by our Government to Science. He said our research systems should work on problems considered important by global scientific community on the one hand and solutions considered most necessary by people of India on the other. Most desired inclusive development would be realized only when the best of our scientific minds ask the right question and combine priorities of excellence with relevance.
He said the flag bearers of the scientific community need to carry the message of science to the people of India. We need an ecosystem for propelling India among the top 10 or 15 nations in innovation sector. This would call for Trust among the inter-institutional linkages, Risk bearing potentials in our financial appraisal systems, Application mind set in educational sector, Venturing mindset among our investors, Entrepreneurial spirit in the industrial community and Leadership focus in the country.
Shri Reddy said democratization of our innovation landscape is our planned approach. Inclusive development agenda of the country could be best served by making al large cross section of the society both the innovator and beneficiary of innovation at the same time. He said several of the programmes of his Ministry aim to spot, scout and support of innovations from a wide cross section of formal and informal innovators and interconnect the various segments of the mind to market chain. He concluded with the note that inclusiveness of our national growth would rely heavily upon the availability, accessibility and affordability of the products of innovation. The innovation eco system, should therefore build into it inclusiveness of growth as one of the key dimensions.
The inaugural function was also addressed by Shri Omar Abdullah, chief Minister of J&K, Prof. R.C.Sobti, President ISC and Prof. M.P.S.Isher, Vice Chancellor of the University of Jammu.