Sunday, January 3, 2016

Indian Science To Get a Makeover



Prime minister Narendra Modi released the Vision 2035 for India's science & technology

By Vinod Varshney

Indian science may get a makeover in coming years if the announcements made by the prime minister Narendra Modi are sincerely implemented. More monetary allocations will be made for strategic projects. Not just more money, its efficacy would also be monitored by scientific audits to be undertaken in scientific departments and institutions. This apart a major focus of the government’s science and technology policy would be to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

The PM gave a sort of blue print of the challenges ahead and was lavishly cheered during his inspiring speech addressing around 15,000 scientist delegates including five Nobel Laureates, one Field Medal winner scientist among around hundred foreign participants and hundreds of top Indian scientists in the inaugural session of the 103rdIndian Science Congress at Mysore University.

He declared innovation as his government’s mantra for success. 'We have pledged to double national investments in innovation; and, build a global partnership that combines the responsibility of governments with the innovative capacity of the private sector. We need innovation to make renewable energy much cheaper; more reliable; and, easier to connect to transmission grids’, he said.

While he talked of making more funds available for science and technology, he also emphasized that funding of science should not just remain the duty of government, but should also be an obligation and responsibility of the private sector.

Not losing sight of the focal theme of the Indian Science Congress, ‘Science and Technology for Indigenous Development in India’ he narrated an array of issues where Indian scientists would be required to offer cost-efficient and environment-friendly solutions.

He talked of the challenge of rapidly increasing urban population,‘For the first time in human history, we are in an urban century. By the middle of this century, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities.'  

His speech had a flair of the recently concluded global agreement to cut carbon emissions for saving the planet. He set the agenda before the scientists, especially the younger lot, that they need to find the cost effective and efficient solutions which can also take care of the environment and the ecology. He urged to develop technologies which can provide prosperity with less reliance on energy.
‘I suggested an international network of 30-40 universities and labs focusing for next ten years on transforming the way we produce, distribute and consume energy. We will also pursue this in G-20. We will make it easier to do science and research in India, improve science administration, and expand the supply and improve the quality of science education and research in India.’

He spoke of an important new area, marine sciences, ‘Oceans occupy more than 70% of our planet; and, over 40% of humanity and 60% of the world’s largest cities are found within 100 kilometers of the coast. We are at the cusp of a new era, where oceans will become important drivers of our economies.We will set up an advanced centre of research in marine biology and biotechnology and establish a network of coastal and island research stations in India and abroad. We have entered into agreements on marine science and ocean economy with several countries. We will also hold an International Conference on ‘Ocean economy and Pacific Island Countries in New Delhi in 2016’ he declared.

He released the Vision 2035 also for the science and technology that India needs to focus on. 


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