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16th March 2018
Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi at the Inauguration of 105th Indian Science Congress
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Prime minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the 105 th Indian Science Congress today at the Manipur University. The focal theme of this year’s congress is “Reaching the Unreached Through Science and Technology.” Dr. Najma Heptullah, Governor of Manipur, N. Biren Singh, Chief Minister of Manipur, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Ministry of Science & Technology, Prof. Achyuta Samamta, General President, Indian Science Congress (ISCA) and Prof Adya Prasad Pandey, Vice-Chancellor of Manipur University were present.
Prime Minister paid tributes to three very distinguished Indian scientists whom we lost in recent times – Padma Vibhushan Prof Yashpal, Padma Vibhushan Prof UR Rao and Padma Shri DrBaldev Raj for their out-standing contributions to Indian science and education.
He appealed the people to join the world to mourn the death of one of the greatest physicists of our time, Stephen Hawking - one of the brightest stars of modern cosmology. He was a friend of India and had visited our country twice. The common man knows Hawking's name, not because of his work on black holes, but because of his unusually high commitment and spirit against all odds .He will be remembered as one of the world’s greatest motivators of all time. He expressed his happiness to be here in Imphal today on the occasion of the one hundred and fifth session of the Indian Science Congress. He said he is delighted to be among scientists whose work paves the way for a better tomorrow. He is also pleased to see Manipur University hosting this important event. The University is emerging as an important centre of higher education in the North-East. He was told that this is just the second time in over a century, which the Indian Science Congress is being held in the North-East. This is a testimony to the resurgent spirit of the North East, he added.
He said it bodes well for the future. Science has been synonymous with progress and prosperity from time immemorial. As the best scientific minds of our nation, all of us gathered here today are power-houses of knowledge, innovation and enterprise, and are best equipped to drive this change.
The time is ripe to redefine ‘R&D’ as ‘Research’ for the ‘Development’ of the nation – that is ‘R&D’ in the real sense. Science is after all, but a means to a far greater end – of making a difference in the lives of others of furthering human progress and welfare. The time is also ripe, to commit ourselves to facilitate 'Ease of Living' for 125 crore Indians, through the power as well as potential of science and technology.
“I stand here today, in this brave land of Manipur, where in April 1944 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's INA gave the clarion call for freedom. When you leave Manipur, I am sure you will also carry the same spirit of dedication to do something ever-lasting for our nation. I am also sure you will continue to work closely with the scientists you have met here,” he said.
Effective solutions to big problems of science and technology, also require close cooperation and coordination among scientists across diverse streams. The Union Government has initiated several new programs for the North-Eastern States in the area of science. Agro-Meteorological Services are being provided. This is benefiting over five lakh farmers. We are now working to expand this network to all districts of the North-East. Several new centres are bringing relevant science and technology to the North-East. An ‘Ethno Medicinal Research Centre’ has been set up in Manipur. This will undertake research on the wild herbs available in the North Eastern region, which have unique medicinal and aromatic properties.
State Climate Change Centres have been set up in seven North-Eastern States. They will undertake risk analysis, and raise public awareness about climate change. We have freed “bamboo” from being treated as a ‘Tree’ species, and classified it as a “Grass.” For this, we changed a decades old law. This amendment will allow for the free movement of bamboo. It will ensure that the production and consumption centres are seamlessly integrated. It will make farmers realize the true potential from the entire value chaining the bamboo ecosystem. Government is also revamping the National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs. 1200 crore. States like Manipur will
benefit from this decision.
The Indian Science Congress has a rich legacy. It has been led by some of India’s tallest scientists, such as Acharya J.C. Bose, C.V. Raman, Meghnad Saha and S.N. Bose. New India, should seek inspiration from the high standards of excellence, set by these great scientists. He said during interactions on various occasions, he exhorted our scientists to seek solutions to our socio economic problems. He also urged them to take up new challenges to benefit the poor and deprived sections of society.
Speaking in the context of the 105 th ISC, he said the theme chosen for the Indian Science Congress this year, is quite appropriate: “Reaching the Unreached through Science and Technology”. The theme is very close to my heart, he added.
Citing the case of Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor from Madurai an Indian scientist who has worked mainly in waste management, who developed and patented an innovative method to reuse plastic waste in the construction of roads has been recognized with a Padma Shri in 2018. The roads made using this method are more durable, water resistant and load bearing. At the same time he has found a constructive use for the ballooning problem of plastic waste. Professor Vasudevan has given this technology to the Government for free. This technology has already been used to lay over 5,000 kilometres of roads across 11 states.
Similarly, Arvind Gupta has been recognized with a Padma Shri in 2018,for inspiring generations of students to learn Science from Trash by using household materials and garbage to make toys for scientific experiments. Chintakindi Mallesham was given a Padma Shri in 2017, for inventing the Laxmi ASU Machine which significantly reduced the time and labour required to weave Sarees. He urge to all to direct our research and innovation towards solving the problems of our times and meeting the aspirations of our people. He also termed the Scientific Social Responsibility is the need of the hour.
The Session’s theme also raises some questions. “Have we done enough to ensure that children in India are sufficiently exposed to science? Are we giving them a conducive environment to develop their inherent talent? Our scientific achievements need to be actively communicated to the society,” prime minister said. This will help inculcate scientific temper among the youth. It will also excite and attract our young minds to careers in science. We have to throw open our national institutions and laboratories to our children. He called upon scientists to develop an appropriate mechanism for interaction with school-going children. he also urge them, to spend 100 hours every year, with 100 students of Classes 10,11 and 12 discussing various aspects of science and technology. 100 hours and 100 students, imagine how many scientists we can nurture this way!
“We are committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix above 40 per cent by 2030. India is a leader in the multi-country International Solar Alliance and in Mission Innovation,” he said. These groupings are providing a thrust to R&D for clean energy. The Department of Atomic Energy is setting up ten new domestic Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors of 700 Mega Watt capacity each. This is a major boost to the domestic nuclear industry.  It strengthens India’s credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing nation. In recent times, CSIR has developed a hand-held milk tester, which helps every family to test quality of milk within seconds. CSIR has also achieved breakthroughs in developing diagnostic kits for rare genetic diseases and high value aromatic and medicinal plants used by farmers to increase their income.

Concerted efforts are being made to achieve complete elimination of TB from India, he said. Few days ago, at the ‘End TB Summit’ in New Delhi, we demonstrated our commitment to eliminate TB from India by 2025, five years ahead of the WHO target of 2030. Our space research program has the capacity to successfully place over one hundred satellites in space in one go. This has been made possible through the hard work and dedication of Indian Scientists.

After the success of Chandrayan-1 we plan to launch Chandrayan-2 in the coming months. This fully indigenous effort will include landing and travel on the surface of the moon by a rover. The greatest scientist of the last century, Albert Einstein had given the theory about “gravitational waves”. It is a matter of immense pride for all of us that 37 Indian scientists from nine Indian institutions participated in the international Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Collaboration and proved this theory correct three years ago. Our Government has already given approval to establish third LIGO detector in the country. It will expand our knowledge in basic Sciences in the areas of lasers, light waves, and computing. I am told that our scientists are tirelessly working towards making this a reality. I have talked about developing Clusters of Excellence in Science in Cities, around important Scientific Institutions. The objective is to create city-based R&D Clusters, which will bring together all Science and Technology partners, from Academia to Institutes, to Industries to Startups. This will help promote new discoveries, and create globally competitive vibrant research hubs.

“Prime Minister’s Research Fellows” scheme has also been recently approved. Under this Scheme, bright minds from the best Institutions in the country, namely, IISc, IIT, NIT, IISER and IIIT will be offered direct admission in Ph.D. Programme in IIT and IISc. This scheme will help address the brain-drain from our country. It will go a long way in promoting indigenous research in cutting-edge Science and Technology domains.

India faces major socio-economic challenges which affect large sections of our population. We need science and technology to help us make India clean, green and prosperous. He reiterated some of his expectations from scientists. A large proportion of our children are affected by malnutrition. To address this problem, the Government of India has launched the National Nutrition Mission. He called for suggestions and solutions to help us to meet the objectives of the Mission.

Our rivers are polluted. It requires your innovative ideas and new technologies to clean them. We need a multi-pronged approach including efficient solar and wind power, energy storage and electric mobility solutions, clean cooking, conversion of coal to clean fuels like methanol, cleaner power from coal, smart grids, micro-grids and bio-fuels.

A target of having 100 Giga Watts of installed solar power by 2022 has been set. Efficiency of solar modules currently available in the market is around 17% to 18%. If our scientists take a challenge to come up with a more efficient solar module, which can be produced in India at the same cost said Prime Minister appealing to our scientists. Imagine the resources we will be saving on this account. ISRO uses one of the best battery systems to run satellites in space. Other institutions can partner with ISRO to develop cost effective and efficient battery systems for mobile phones and electric cars. We need to develop new procedures, medicines, and vaccines to get rid of silent killers like Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis. Research should also be conducted in Yoga, sports, and traditional knowledge disciplines. Small and medium scale industry units have been the main-stay for employment generation. With global competition, they are facing increasing challenges.

He said we have to be future ready in implementing technologies vital for the growth and prosperity of the nation. Technology will allow far greater penetration of services such as education, healthcare, and banking to our citizens. India should become a major player in developing technologies, devices, standards and manufacturing for 5-G broadband tele-communication networks by 2020. Together with Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning and cyber-physical systems, effective communication will be a major ingredient in our success in smart manufacturing, smart cities, and Industry 4.0.Let us aim for India to be among the top 10 countries in the Global Innovation Index by 2030.

Four years from now, we will be celebrating the 75th year of our Independence. We have collectively resolved to build a New India by 2022, he added. We need to work towards shared prosperity, in the spirit of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. This goal requires whole-hearted contribution from each one of you. The Indian economy is on a high growth trajectory. But we rank low in Human Development Indicators. One of the important reasons for this in-consistency is major inter-state and intra-state disparity. To address this, we have launched a concerted effort to improve the performance of over 100 Aspirational Districts. We shall focus on important sectors such as Health and Nutrition; Education; Agriculture and Water Resources; Financial Inclusion; Skill Development; and Basic Infrastructure. All these sectors require innovative solutions, which cater to local challenges and requirements. The “one size fits all” approach cannot work in this case. “Can our Scientific Institutions serve these Aspirational Districts? Can they catalyze creation and diffusion of appropriate technologies that generate skills and entrepreneur-ship?” he asked.

This would be a great service to Mother India. India has a rich tradition and a long history of both discovery and use science and technology. It is time to reclaim our rightful place among the front-line nations in this field. He called upon the scientific community to extend its research from the labs, to the land. He said he is confident that through the dedicated efforts of our scientists, we are embarking on the road to a better future. The future we wish for ourselves, and for our children.

Addressing the inaugural session, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Ministry of Science & Technology said the recent lost of cosmologist Stephen Hawking is huge lost for all.

He said science in India is at its highest and we are improving on world ranking in the field of science and technology. India has the potential to be considered among the top three scientific nations in the world by 2030. Present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided conducive environment to the scientists of the country. Hailing the Prime Minister as a great visionary, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that our Prime Minister has always been motivating his cabinet colleagues and officials to ensure that development reaches the unreached people of the country.

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri N. Biren Sigh, addressing the inaugural session of 105th ISC said that this event will give an enriching knowledge and experience to the students and scholars particularly to the people of Manipur. This will also give an opportunity to the outside world to see this tiny and highly promising and beautiful state. This event has happened here in Manipur because of our prime minister’s determination to have a new India with North East India. He thanked the Prime minister for his support and belief in the people of Manipur and government. There was a time when the people of north East felt that we have no parents and guardians but today North East and Manipur has got our guardian after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, he said. It is a matter of pride for a small state Manipur to organise such a scientific extravaganza for the first time and it is a proud moment for the Manipur University.  This tiny North Eastern state Manipur also has several indigenous traditional science and art forms. He asserted that we are trying to highlight and showcase those art forms to the treasure of the 105th Indian Science Congress.  With 94 affiliated colleges and thousands of students, we have been waiting for this opportunity to host this prestigious Science Congress, he stated. This event has given us the window to showcase ourselves to the world of academics. This event will be a game changer for all of us. Scientific temper is an important component of human personalities. This had become important for all in today’s life especially for young students. Sharing his progressive vision he said education with scientific temper is important for India in growing up in this competitive world. In order to think critically and out of the box, we all need scientific temper. He strongly urged the young colleagues of the state to learn the spirit of scientific enquiry and the scientific temper. He concluded by welcoming all the delegates and participants to this tiny state Manipur. He wished to all for a pleasant stay here in Manipur. In delightful note, he sincerely wished to make this edition of Indian Science Congress a grand success and hoped that all of the delegates take back wonderful memories of the state in their hearts to come back again. He, on behalf of all, accorded warm welcome to the Prime Minister for his support in organising the ISC and also termed him as legendary figure.

Prof. Achyuta Samamta, General President, Indian Science Congress (ISCA) addressing the inaugural session said he rather believe that it was predestined to host the 105th Indian Science Congress does exude significance as it is for the second time being held in North East and first time in the picturistic state of Manipur. The focal theme “Reaching the Unreached Through Science and Technology” definitely justifies this session being held in the North East which considerably remain in the Prime Minister Naredra Modi’s thought area. We have multiple problems including poverty, hunger, cleanliness, health, sanitation and gender equality, etc. It is not the time that one leader should discuss work of disastrous anything related to that it time when we must sit together with scientists to find out the way to fight with this socio-economic menace. We India is very must fortunate to have one leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has future vision to take future to the height with proper application of science and technology.

He applauded Professor Adya Prasad Pandey, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor of Manipur University for hosting such a mammoth event in a very short period of two months time. Without his since efforts and the stakeholders of this University, it could have been impossible to have a successful event.

The inaugural function concluded with the distribution of ISCA Award 2017 by Hon’ble DONER minister Dr. Jitendra Singh.