Mumbai, January 4 2015: Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, would like to put science, technology and innovation at the top of national priorities -- and urged scientists and tech professionals to pitch in, to reach the nation's poorest, the remotest and the most vulnerable person.
In his address to the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai yesterday, Mr Modi said more resilient agriculture, appropriate and affordable technologies for rural areas, improving healthcare, making clean technology affordable, and making India a leading manufacturing nation and a hub for knowledge and technology-intensive industries, were some of the key objectives before Indian scientists.
China's emergence as the second biggest global economy is in parallel to its rise to the second place in science and technology activities, he pointed out.
The Prime Minister saluted Indian scientists for rising to the occasion “whenever the world shut its door on us.” He said that when the world sought our collaboration, they reached out with the openness that is inherent in our society. He also lauded Indian scientists for putting Mangalyaan in the Mars orbit in the first attempt, and saving thousands of lives through their accurate prediction of Cyclone Hudhud.
Along with the need to ensure ease of doing business in India, he also wants to pay equal attention to the ease of doing research and development in India. Funding proposals must not take too long to clear, and scientific departments must have flexibility of funding decisions based on the uncertainties inherent in research activities, he added. He also called for clear regulatory policies for research and development in areas like biotechnology, nanoscience, agriculture and clinical research.
The Prime Minister called upon Indian industry to step up investments in science and technology in its own interest. He said India's own pharmaceutical industry has carved out a place for itself in the world, because it invests significantly in research.
The Prime Minister said India must “restore the pride and prestige of science and scientists in our nation; revive the romance for science in society; rekindle the love for it in our children; and, encourage our scientists - to dream, imagine and explore.”
Digital Village dedication
A day earlier while dedicating ICICI's Digital Village -- Akodara, in Sabarkantha District, Gujarat state -- to the Nation, Mr Modi congratulated ICICI Bank and the people of Akodara for creating a cashless economic system. He said people in India had a propensity towards saving, but this was targeted towards gold. The challenge for banks was to assure people that a bank account would ensure easy access to their savings whenever required. He said if banks were able to do so, they could emerge as agents of social transformation.
The initiative marked 60 years of the ICICI group.