Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday that India is now one of the top three countries in the world in terms of the number of PhD research works and startup ecosystems. Inaugurating the 108th Indian Science Congress (ISC) being held in Nagpur via video conferencing, PM Modi informed the gathered scientists that India is now ranked 40th on the Global Innovation Index 2022, up from 81st in 2015 and emphasised that scientific advancements should ultimately make India Atmanirbhar.
The theme of this year’s Indian Science Congress is “Science and Technology for Sustainable Development with Women Empowerment,” and it will highlight the accomplishments of women scientists and young innovators from around the nation.
The outcomes are unprecedented when the spirit of national service and passion are injected into science. I am confident that India’s scientific community will secure the place it has always deserved for our nation,” he remarked. In addition, the Prime Minister emphasised the growing significance of data collection and analysis and the significance of old knowledge alongside new knowledge.
According to Prime Minister Modi, women’s engagement in extramural research has increased in the past eight years. “India has been awarded the G20 presidency. Women-led development is one of the chair’s highest-priority themes. In the past eight years, India has undertaken unprecedented tasks in governance, society, and the economy, which are currently being addressed worldwide. Through the Mudra Yojana, women have demonstrated their business and industrial prowess. Women’s engagement in extramural research and development has increased by a factor of two.
“Scientific efforts can only result in great accomplishments if they leave the laboratory and reach the general public, if their impact extends from the global to the local level, if its scope extends from the journal to the zameen, and if the transition from research to reality is visible,” he added.
PM Modi added that an institutional structure, including talent searches and hackathons, must be built to encourage young people to pursue careers in science.
Pointing out challenges that will pave the way for the development of science in the country, the Prime Minister noted that meeting India’s needs should be the source of all scientific community’s motivation. “India’s science should make the nation atmanirbhar,” he continued.
As energy demands continue to rise, the Prime Minister emphasised the importance of focusing on innovation in the energy sector. He supported the necessity for the scientific community to focus on a National Hydrogen Mission and emphasised the importance of manufacturing crucial equipment such as electrolysers in India to ensure its success.
PM Modi also emphasised the scientific community’s responsibility in creating methods to combat emerging diseases and the necessity to promote research into the development of new vaccines. He discussed comprehensive disease surveillance for early disease detection. In this regard, he emphasised the need for coordinated ministry activities. Likewise, scientists can greatly assist the LiFE or Lifestyle for Environment movement.
The Prime Minister stated that it is a source of national pride that the United Nations has designated 2023 as the International Year of Millets in response to India’s request. Using biotechnology, the scientific community may adopt effective measures to reduce post-harvest losses, and work can be done to improve India’s millets and their uses, he said.
As urban solid trash, electronic waste, bio-medical waste, and agricultural waste increase and the government promotes a circular economy, the Prime Minister emphasised the importance of research in waste management.
Modi also praised the significance of low-cost satellite launch vehicles and quantum computing in India’s thriving space industry. “India is rapidly advancing in quantum computing, chemistry, communication, sensors, cryptography, and new materials,” he remarked.
The Prime Minister emphasised the need to prioritise futuristic concepts and “areas where no work is being done anywhere,” as well as Artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). He pushed the scientific community to come up with improvements in semiconductor chips and asked them to consider the future-readiness of the semiconductor push going forward.
1914 saw the inaugural meeting of the Indian Science Congress. This year, the 108th annual session of the ISC will take place at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, which is simultaneously celebrating its centennial.