Revive the romance of science ? PM Modi

Modi 0301Mumbai (ISJ) ? Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called upon the scientific community to revive the romance of science. Inaugurating the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai on Saturday (Jan 03), he said, science has a dominant position in the priorities of his government.

?Revive the romance of science, you will have no better supporter than me,? Modi told a gathering of scientists from across the world and researchers and students from various universities in the country. ?In turn, I seek your help in transforming India.?

He said, a nation?s progress and its human development are linked to science and technology. In more recent times, China?s emergence as the second largest global economy is in parallel to its rise to the second place in science and technology activities.

Science and Technology can also remove national barrier, said Modi. ?But we also know that it can increase inequality, make wars more lethal and damage our environment.?

Modi said, research should not be a prisoner at the hands of bureaucrats and universities should be freed from the clutches of excessive regulation and cumbersome procedures.

?Funding proposals must not take too long to clear, meeting application requirement should not become more complex than research; approval process should not become a deterrent for international conference; and our scientific departments must have flexibility of funding decisions based on the uncertainties inherent in research activities,? he said.

?Our universities must be freed from the clutches of excessive regulation and cumbersome procedures. They must have a higher degree of academic freedom and autonomy and, there should be as much emphasis on research as on teaching. They should have highest academic and research standards and accountability,? he told the audience, mainly from the scientific community.

Modi?s remarks are contrary to his Human Resource Development Minister?s alleged attempts to derail the autonomy of national university regulator ? University Grants Commission and interfere in the functioning of Delhi IIT, which forced its director R. Shengoankar to quit. Though Shengoankar attributed the decision to ?unforeseen situation? and the Union Human Resource Ministry denied any role in it.

Modi asked scientists to be partner in ?the dream we all share for India? and asked them to bring a second green revolution in farm sector, help preserve the biodiversity and environment, develop medicines and medical devices that is within the reach of the poorest, develop technologies for better housing and sanitation, waste management, turn internet for human development and make India a leading manufacturing hub.

The prime minister wanted the scientists and technologists to incorporate traditional and local knowledge, systems and technologies.

?Science is universal, but technology can be local,? suggested Narendra Modi.

-By N.B. Nair

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