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Prime Minister inaugurates 98th Indian Science Congress in Chennai Print E-mail
Written by Krishna Kumar   
Tuesday, 04 January 2011
Chennai: Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the 98th Indian Science Congress in Chennai today. The theme of the 98th Science Congress is "Quality Education and Excellence in Science Research in Indian Universities." The five-day Congress being held from January 3-7, 2011 will be attended by scientists and academicians from all over the world.

"This year, as we usher in the New Year, we also usher in the 'Decade of Innovation'. There is no better way to do that than to salute the creativity and the genius of our scientists and engineers, our professionals, our workers, our scholars and students," said the Prime Minister.

Some of the key sessions are on Science Policy – Agenda for next five years, Challenges of maintaining quality education, Enhancing Academia – Industry interactions, Strategic electronics in defence segment etc.

In August 2010 the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister prepared a report setting out a vision and a roadmap for India to become a global leader in science. The Council has inter alia recommended measures to attract the best of talent for science. "I would urge our Ministries of Human Resource Development and of Science & Technology to jointly mount efforts to attract more young people to the study of science," the Prime Minister said.

The report also pointed out that while C. V. Raman won the Nobel Prize eighty years ago for the Raman Effect, most of the instruments available in India today using this principle are imported. "This is not an isolated example. Many of our outstanding scientific discoveries have been converted into marketable products by technologists and firms based abroad," he said.

"Why is the translation of good science and research into products so weak in our country? How do we strengthen the link between Universities, research laboratories and industry? I would like the Science Congress to discuss these issues and come out with actionable recommendations. I believe that the scientific community should give due recognition to scientists who build advanced instruments," he pointed out.

"I have always believed that a university is the vital link in the chain of science teaching and research. We must never forget that. Unless we strengthen the base of our educational system, we can never hope to extend the height of the pyramid of excellence. We also need to create an innovation eco-system so that innovation becomes a way of life in our knowledge institutions.

As a former university teacher, I am happy that our government in the last six years has tried to pay special attention to the growth and development of our university system. We have sanctioned funds for the creation of new universities and increased the capacity of existing ones. In the past 5 years, the Government has established eight new IITs and five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research to provide high quality education and carry out research in frontier areas of science and technology. An Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research which seeks to produce more than 1,000 doctoral and post graduate fellows every year is being established. I urge our teaching community to strengthen both the teaching and research sides of our University system."

"Our Universities have to be more hospitable to creativity and genius, and less captive to bureaucracy and procedure. They should be more open to talent and to the challenge of new ideas," he added.

The year 2012-13 will be the centenary year of the Indian Science Congress. He said that he would like the Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Indian Science Congress to designate 2012-13 as the ‘Year of Science in India’.

"Tamil Nadu has a unique place in the world of Indian science. India’s first Nobel Laureate in the sciences, Dr C V Raman, was a proud student of Presidency College, Chennai. So was Professor S. Chandrasekhar. The State has also produced one of India’s greatest mathematicians, Srinivasa Ramanujan," he said.

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