Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of the 102nd Indian Science Congress at the University of Mumbai on Saturday. Also seen are Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (Press Trust of India)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a more broad based approach to funding research in the country, and asked scientists to focus more on research than on various procedures to get government grants. Mr Modi's made these remarks after inaugurating the 102nd Indian Science Congress at the Mumbai University on Saturday.
The Prime Minister started off his address to the gathering of scientists, students and nobel laureates by paying tribute to eminent research scientist Vasant R Gowariker, who died in Pune on Friday.
Laying stress on the importance of science and technology, Mr Modi linked the rise of China as second largest economy in the world to it's rise as a scientific power. He also sought to make science and technology a theme of the Republic Day Parade in near future.
Speaking to the 12,000 delegates from across the country, Prime Minister Modi said, "Science and technology is an invaluable ally in governance and the development of our country. I feel humbled by the work that scientists do."
"I want our scientists to concentrate on research, not on government procedures in getting grants. Unfortunately, investments in research are dependent on central agencies and this has to be more broad based. We need to put science and technology on top of our agenda," the Prime Minister added.
2001 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine Paul Nurse from London, 2002 Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Kurt Wuthrich from Switzerland, 2009 Chemistry Nobel laureate Ada E Yonath from Israel, 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley, were notable among the celebrity guests present at the inauguration ceremony. 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh was also present.
Mr Yunus told NDTV, "The fact that this Congress is taking place at this time is because we know that science and technology is leading the way. The Prime Minister emphasized how we can use this technology to solve the problems of the poor in his speech today. It's not about the progress and development of science and technology but about how this can be made available to the people, remote people, poor people."
The Indian Science Congress will consist of fourteen sections namely Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Animal, Veterinary and Fishery Sciences, Anthropological and Behavioral Sciences (including Archaeology and Psychology and Educational Sciences), Chemical Sciences, Earth System Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Information and Communication Science and Technology (including Computer Sciences), Material Sciences, Mathematical Sciences (including Statistics), Medical Sciences (including Physiology), New Biology (including Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology), Physical Sciences, Plant Sciences and one Committee Science and Society.
The Prime Minister ended his speech by saying, "Children must see as many role models in science as they see in sports. We need to revive the romance of science in society, rekindle the love of science in our children and allow our scientists dream."