Science is after all a means to a far greater end – of making a difference in the lives of people, he said, and technology will allow greater penetration of services such as health and nutrition, education, agriculture, water resources, and basic infrastructure.
Inaugurating the 105th Session of 106-year-old Indian Science Congress in Manipur University in Imphal, Modi also said it’s time to redefine R&D (Research and Development) as Research for Development and “We have to be future ready in implementing technologies vital for the growth and prosperity of the nation.”
He said the theme of the Indian Science Congress this year — “Reaching the Unreached through Science and Technology”–is quite appropriate and emphasised the need to channel science to solve India’s socio-economic challenges.
“We need science to make India clean and green. India requires crores of new houses. Can our scientists adopt 3D printing technology to help us meet this demand? Our rivers are polluted. We need a multi-pronged approach, clean cooking, conversion of fuels, smart grids, micro grids and bio-fuels. We’ve set a target of 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022. Imagine our resources we will be saving with solar powered devices.”
In this context, he spoke of Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan of Madurai, who has developed and patented an innovative method to reuse plastic waste in the construction of roads that are more durable and load bearing. Vasudevan has given this technology to the government for free. The technology has already been used to lay over 5,000 km of roads across 11 states.
He called for diffusion of appropriate technologies that generate skills and entrepreneurship and said India should become a major player in developing technologies. “Let us aim for India to be among the top 10 countries in the Global Innovation Index by 2030.”
The prime minister concluded his address urging the scientific community to extend their research from the labs to the land. “I urge you to direct your research and innovation towards solving the problems of our times and meeting the aspirations of our people. Scientific Social Responsibility is the need of the hour.”
“We are embarking on a road to a better future,” he said. Since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, this largest congregation of scientists in India was traditionally the first public function the prime minister addressed in the calendar year.
The Science Congress was scheduled to be held at the Osmania University, Hyderabad, in the first week of January. But the event was postponed and shifted to the current venue due to “security problems.