PM said that development in science should be aimed at fulfilling India’s needs and this should be inspiration for the scientific community
New Delhi/MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on the country's scientific community to make India "a laboratory of advanced science" in its 75th year of Independence. He outlined the vision for science for the next 25 years, urging researchers to make the country self-reliant and focus on converting their knowledge to bring about change in everyday life.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 108th Indian Science Congress via video conference on the premises of Nagpur University, the PM said that development in science should be aimed at fulfilling India’s needs and this should be the inspiration for the scientific community.
"The country is now ranked 40th on the Global Innovation Index 2022, up from the 81st rank in 2015. India is among the top three nations in the world in terms of the number of PhDs and start-up ecosystems. The scientific developments should ultimately make the country ‘atmanirbhar’," he said.
Pointing out issues that will pave the way for the development of science in the nation, the PM said that fulfilling India’s requirements should be the root of all inspiration for the entire scientific community. He endorsed the need for the scientific community to focus on working on a National Hydrogen Mission and stressed the need to manufacture critical equipment like electrolysers in India to make it a success.
Mr Modi cited the country’s growing energy needs and urged the scientific community to forge such innovations in the field as may benefit the country. Since India is home to 17–18 per cent of the world's population, the progress of such a large number of people will lead to a surge in global advancement as well, he said.
This year, the five-day ISC session underway at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University is celebrating its centenary. Its theme is "Science and Technology for Sustainable Development with Women Empowerment" and will showcase achievements made by women scientists as well as young innovators across the country. It will witness discussions on issues of sustainable development, women empowerment and the role of science and technology in achieving these goals.
The PM pointed out that women’s participation in extramural research has doubled over the last eight years. "Women-led development is one of the high-priority subjects taken up by the government. Through the Mudra Yojana, women have showcased their strength in businesses and small industries. Women’s participation in the field of extramural research and development has doubled -- the increasing participation of women is proof that women and science are both progressing in the nation," he said.
Mr Modi also stressed on strengthening scientific processes, focusing on emerging areas such as quantum technologies, data sciences, the development of new vaccines, stepping up efforts on surveillance for newer diseases, and encouraging youngsters to take up research.
The Prime Minister also made a strong pitch for creating an institutional framework and a mentor-mentee (guru-shishya) system that could build upon the successes of talent hunts and hackathons to attract youngsters to science.
He urged researchers to focus on quantum computing and emerge as world leaders in the upcoming field.
"India is moving fast in the direction of quantum computers, chemistry, communication, sensors, cryptography and new materials," Mr Modi said as he urged young researchers and scientists to gain expertise in the quantum field and become leaders.
He urged researchers to include subjects such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality in their list of priorities. Mr Modi said: "India is taking several initiatives in the field of semiconductors. New innovations will be required in the field of semiconductors. Should we not think in the direction to make the country future-ready in this field?"
Mr Modi also stressed on the need to promote research and development to prepare new vaccines.
"Today we are living in such an era when humanity is facing the threat of new diseases. We have to identify diseases well in time through integrated disease surveillance and take measures to deal with them. Different ministries will have to work together to achieve this goal," he said.