Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Shri S;Jaipal Reddy has asked the scientific community of country to work towards Science for Food Security of India. Shri Reddy was inaugurating the National Science day Celebrations to mark the Nobel Prize winning works of noted Indian Scientist Late Dr. C.V.Raman here in New Delhi today. Shri Reddy said Agricultural technologies need to undergo major transformations, if the global population of 8 billion people were to be fed and their nutrition levels assured. Science for food security of India is an area where relevance and excellence should be combined. He stressed that food security of the country can not be faced blind folded. It is too serious a matter and objectivity of science seems the only solution. There is need to create impressive infrastructure of agricultural science and technology, which was set in place by restructuring and strengthening the education, research and extension components. He said it is also an area where both social and natural sciences must converge.
The minister said for a projected population of 1.5 billion people in 2050, and feed the entire population at the minimum calorie needs, India would need to increase the food grain production to approximately 350-400 million tonnes per year. With competing demands on land for other uses, the proportion of arable land is likely to decrease, unless, the Nation is able to recover value from waste lands. There is a challenge for all scientists in the country. We need breakthrough technology and innovative solutions.
Shri Reddy said we may need new technologies and tools for avoiding food wastages. Food Processing technologies add other important dimensions. We need research and development in these areas much more today than in 1950s. The theme for National Science Day in 2013 gains in significance, in the back drop of our future needs for food security. It concerns the relevance of an emerging new knowledge in agricultural science.
On the issue of Genetically Modified Crops Shri Reddy said there is a reasonable level of confidence among scientific community to ask the right questions and seek some definite answers. There may be some questions in the minds of people which remain to be addressed. He asked the scientists community to examine the issue keeping in view the aspects of Bio-safety, Bio-diversity and regulation of technology. He said this is a thought I would like to leave you with.
The minister also spoke on the issue of Science Communication He said we would require expertise in the area of science communication. Let us improve the public and political understanding of science.
Shri Reddy gave three massages on the day: 1) strive to combine relevance with excellence in your scientific pursuits, 2) create and develop a road map for India on Science towards food security for 2035 and c) train and promote a suitable supply of science communicators for improving the public and political understanding of science.
Commemorating the occasion the publication “Communicating Science & Technology” brought out by the National Council for Science & Technology, DST and M/o Science and Technology was also released by Shri Reddy. This booklet highlights the achievements of 2012-13.
On this occasion the winners of National Science and Technology Communication Awards were also honoured. The Awards for 2012 were given to the Prof. Syamal Chakrabarti, Kolkata and Shri G. Tomba Sharma, Imphal for their outstanding efforts in Science & Technology Communication through Print Media including Books and Magazines, and to People’s Association of Hill Area Launchers (PAHAL), Pithoragarh for Science & Technology Popularization among Children.These award consists of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh), a memento and a citation. The awards were instituted by NCSTC in 1987,
Commemorating the occasion, the Chief Guest, Hon’ble Union Minister released the publication “Communicating Science & Technology” highlighting the achievements of 2012-13.
National Science Day (NSD) is celebrated every year on 28th February to commemorate the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’. The theme of NSD-2013 is ‘Food security – Technological Paradigm’. This theme was chosen for the purpose of raising public appreciation of the scientific issues involved. NCSTC . supports, catalyzes and coordinates celebration of the National Science Day throughout the country in scientific institutions, research laboratories and autonomous scientific institutions associated with the Department of Science and Technology. NCSTC has supported various programmes countrywide by giving grants to S&T Councils & Departments of various States of India for organization of lectures, quizzes, open houses, etc. NCSTC thus plays a key role in promoting scientific temper and communicating science and technology among fellow citizen.