|Prime Minister of India|
Dr. Monmohan Singh
photo courtesy, Office of the PM, India
Below are some excerpts from his speech:
"If India re-emerges as a knowledge power in the 21st Century, then it can only be through developing a strong capability in science and technology."
"We face new challenges of climate change and the management of our scarce water resources. We also face old challenges of food security and disease control. In all these areas, our success will depend critically on the quality of our institutions of science and technology."
"All over the world, countries are chalking out strategies to achieve greater energy efficiency and a shift to renewable sources of energy. They are also chalking out strategies for adapting to such climate change as is inevitable. India must not lag behind in these areas. Indeed we should plan to be among the leaders in the development of science and technology related to mitigation and also adaptation to climate change. The market for such technologies is not just India. It is indeed the whole world."
"We live in an increasingly complex world with growing interdependence among different sectors of our economy. Every solution to a particular problem has consequences in other areas. Take forests for instance. When we thought of forests as an economic resource the focus of forest planning was almost exclusively on growing the stock of timber and other commercially valuable forest products. This led to decisions about the choice of tree species and planting practices that we now know were sub optimal because they did not pay sufficient regard to other functions of forests like controlling water run off or for the protection of bio-diversity."
"Water resource management is a very important area for us given the fact that per capita availability of water is declining as our population increases. The urgency of action in this area increases all the more because of the threat of climate change. The scientific input in evolving an adaptation strategy is therefore very important. I am happy that the Ministry of Science and Technology has initiated a Technology Mission for Winning, Augmentation and Renovation (WAR) of our water resources. Technology solutions for 25 different water related challenges are being found through pilot trials under real field conditions in about 60 locations covering all our 20 river basin systems. These solutions will then be applied to 100,000 population clusters to study their financial viability and location neutral applications. If the project completes successfully by 2011, it will have an important demonstration effect of the virtues of investment in scientific solutions to economic and social problems."
"Strengthening food security is another important area of emphasis in our scientific and technological efforts. Better weather forecasting is critical for sound agricultural management. A Geo-spatial Technology Applications Mission to provide crop planning and monitoring as well as flood management has recently been mounted."
"Developments in biotechnology present us the prospect of greatly improving yields in our major crops by increasing resistance to pests and also to moisture stress. BT Cotton has been well accepted in the country and has made a great difference to the production of cotton. The technology of genetic modification is also being extended to food crops though this raises legitimate questions of safety. These must be given full weightage, with appropriate regulatory control based on strictly scientific criteria. Subject to these caveats, we should pursue all possible leads that biotechnology provides that might increase our food security as we go through climate related stress."
"Our Government has declared 2010-2020 as the “Decade of Innovations”. We need new solutions in many areas to achieve our goals of inclusive and sustainable growth – in healthcare, in energy, in urban infrastructure, in water management, in transportation, to name only a few. We cannot continue with business as usual. Solutions from developed countries available are also not applicable all the time. They are often too costly and at times not sustainable."
"The country must develop an Innovation Eco-system to stimulate innovations. Innovators must be challenged to produce solutions our society needs. And innovative solutions with potential must be nurtured and rapidly applied. Our scientific establishments must be central to the Innovation Eco-system. But this system must include industry, and providers of venture funds, as well as regulators who set high standards of performance for their products. We also need to think creatively on how to increase private investment in R&D. Some innovative policy readjustments may be required to build vibrant Public-Private Partnerships in the Science & Technology Sector. "
For more see: "PM Inaugurates 97th Indian Science Congress," Prime Minister Office, Press Information Bureau, Goverment of India, 3 January 2012.