The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that we must aim to increase the total R&D spending as a percentage of GDP to at least 2 per cent by the end of the XII Plan Period from the current level of about 1 per cent. This can only be achieved if industry, which contributes about one-third of the total R&D expenditure today, increases its contribution significantly. He said, “I sincerely believe that Public Sector Undertakings, particularly those in the energy sector should also play a major role in this expansion”.
To pay tribute to our great scientist M S Ramanujan, the year 2012 will be celebrated as the Year of Mathematics, the Prime Minister added.
Inaugurating the 99th Annual Session of the Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar today, the Prime Minister said that we have to increase public private partnerships and catalyse significantly increased interaction between publicly owned Science and Technology institutions and industry. It is in some ways ironic that General Electric and Motorola have created world-class technology hubs in India, while our own industry has not done so, except perhaps in the pharmaceutical sector. We need therefore, to look at ways of incentivising private Research and Development investment under Indian conditions, the Prime Minister added.
The Prime minister informed that a proposal is under consideration to build national capacity and capability in supercomputing which will be implemented by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore at an estimated cost of Rs. 5000 crore.
The prime Minister said that over the last few years, the number of scientific publications by Indian scientists working in India has increased at more than 12% per annum against the global average of 4%. India has moved from the 15th rank in 2003 to the 9th rank in 2010 with respect to the number of publications in peer-valued journals. He informed about the National Innovation Council’s proposal to set up an India Inclusive Innovation Fund that will drive and catalyse enterprise, entrepreneurship, and venture capital, while targeting solutions for the bottom of the national pyramid.
Congratulating Dr. Geetha Bali, General President of 99th Indian Science Congress, Dr. Manmohan Singh said, “the role of Science And technology for inclusive Innovation with special reference to the role of women was the theme for the Congress. I have often spoken about the commitment of our Government to give a boost to the science and technology sector in the country. We have taken several steps towards this end”.
The Prime Minister said that while research generates new knowledge, we need innovation to use this knowledge creatively and productively for social benefit. Our Government has declared 2010-20 as the “Decade of Innovations”. We need to give practical meaning to innovation so that it does not end up being just a buzz word.
He said, it is important that we explore and rejuvenate traditional knowledge systems found all over our country in areas such as agriculture, architecture, handicrafts and textiles. One need go no further than the tribal communities of the Kharia, Santhals, Gonds and Kolhas who live in the deep forest areas of Mayurbhanj and have a reservoir of knowledge on medicinal usage of locally available plants.
The Prime minister gave away awards to the eminent persons in the field of development of science and technology.
On the occasion, the Governor of Odisha, Shri M. C. Bhandare, the Union Minister of Science and Technology, Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Shri Ashwani Kumar were present. An Exhibition of scientific innovations and models was also organized. This was the third time that Odisha hosted Science Congress. Earlier, the 49th Science Congress was organized in Cuttack in 1862 and the 64th at Bhubaneswar. Around 15 Nobel Laureates and noted speakers from various countries and India are participating.