New Delhi: Emphasising the role of the scientific community in developing ways of dealing with emerging diseases and the need for encouraging research in developing new vaccines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, called for relentless efforts to make India the most advanced laboratory of modern science during ”Amrit Kaal”.
Speaking about the result of India’s tryst with the scientific approach, he said India was being counted among the top countries of the world as it has moved to 40th place in the Global Innovation Index in 2022 from 81st in 2015. ”India is among the top three nations in the world in terms of the number of PhDs and startup ecosystems,” he noted.
The PM was addressing the 108th Indian Science Congress (ISC) via video conferencing. The focal theme of this year’s ISC is “Science and Technology for Sustainable Development with Women Empowerment” which will witness discussions on issues of sustainable development, women empowerment and the role of science & technology in achieving this.
Addressing a gathering, he highlighted the role of India’s scientific strength in India’s story of development over the next 25 years. “When the spirit of national service gets infused in Science along with passion, results are unprecedented. I am sure, India’s scientific community will ensure a place for our country of which it was always deserving ”, he said.
Pointing out that observation was the root of science, and it was by such observation that scientists follow patterns and arrive at required results, the PM mentioned the importance of gathering data and analysing results.
He highlighted the abundant availability of data and technology in 21st-century India and said that it has the potential to take Indian Science to new heights. He also stated that the field of data analysis was moving forward at a meteoric pace which was of great help in converting information into insight and analysis into actionable knowledge. “Be it traditional knowledge or modern technology, each one plays a crucial role in scientific discovery,” Modi remarked. He also emphasised the need to strengthen the scientific processes by applying various techniques of research-led development.
Expressing happiness about the theme of the ISC this year which combined sustainable development with women empowerment, the PM emphasised the complementarity between the two areas. However, he stressed, “Our thinking is not just that we should empower women via science but also empowering science by the contribution of women.”
Noting that India has been given the opportunity to preside over G-20, Modi pointed out that women-led development was one of the high-priority subjects taken up by the chair. He informed that in the last eight years, India has taken up extraordinary tasks ranging from governance to society to economy which was being discussed all over the world today.
Highlighting the women who showcase their strength to the world, be it in a partnership in small industries and businesses or leadership in the start-up world, the PM gave the example of Mudra Yojna which has been instrumental in empowering women of India. He also pointed out the doubling of women’s participation in the field of extramural research and development. “The increasing participation of women is proof that women and science are both progressing in the nation,” he added.
Talking about the scientists’ challenge of turning knowledge into actionable and helpful products, the PM said, “Efforts of science can turn into great achievements only when they come out of the lab and reach the land, and their impact reaches from global to grassroots, when its ambit is from journal to jameen (land, everyday life) and when change is visible from research to real life.”
He said that when science’s achievements complete the distance between experiments and people’s experiences, it gave an important message and impressed the young generation who get convinced about the role of science. In order to help such youth, the PM emphasised the need for an institutional framework. He called upon the gathering to work on developing such an enabling institutional framework.