Doing scientific research would be made easier and science administration, too, will be improved in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told scientists while stressing that their work should be focused on the ‘five-Es’ of economy, environment, energy, empathy and equity.
In his inaugural address at the Indian Science Congress here, he also said that with the spirit of cooperative federalism that is shaping Centre-state relations in every area, he is also for greater scientific collaboration between central and state-level institutions and agencies.
Modi asked scientists from India and overseas at the five-day mega science event to bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and modern science so that localised and more sustainable solutions to the challenges could be found.
He said the impact of science would be the most when scientists and technologists keep the principles of what he called “Five Es” at the centre of their enquiry and engineering.
‘Economy’ related to finding cost-effective and efficient solutions; ‘Environment’ to keeping the carbon footprint at the lightest and the impact on the ecology the least possible. “’Energy’—when our prosperity relies less on energy and the energy we use keeps our skies blue and our Earth green. ‘Empathy’—when our efforts are in tune with our culture, circumstances and social challenges. ‘Equity’—when science advances inclusive development and improves the welfare of the weakest,” he said.
Modi said good governance was not just about policy and decision making, transparency and accountability but also about integrating science and technology into the choices to be made and the strategies to be pursued.
He said he has asked for a framework of scientific audit for scientific departments and institutions in the government.
“We will also try to increase the level of resources for science and deploy them in accordance with our strategic priorities,” he said at the 103rd session of ISC at ‘Manasa Gangotri’ campus of the University of Mysore that is also celebrating its centenary.
“We will make it easier to do science and research in India, improve science administration and expand and improve the quality of science education and research in India,” he said.
Some 500 eminent scientists and experts are attending the Congress with the focal theme, ‘Science and Technology for Indigenous Development in India’ in tune with Modi’s big push for ‘Make in India’ programme.
The PM said innovation in approach is not just the obligation of the government, but also the responsibility of the private sector and the academia.
“In a world of resource constraints and competing claims, we have to be smart in defining our priorities—especially in India, where challenges are many and the scale is enormous, from health and hunger to energy and economy,” he said.
He said a sustainable future for this planet will depend not only on what one does on land, but also on how one treats the oceans.
“We are at the cusp of a new era, where oceans will become important drivers of our economies. Their sustainable use can bring prosperity and give us clean energy, new medicines and food security beyond just fisheries,” said Modi.
Noting that the ocean is critical to the future of India with over 1,300 islands, a 7,500-km coastline and 2.4-million sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone, he said the level of the country’s scientific efforts would be raised in marine science.
An advanced centre for research in marine biology and biotechnology would be set up and a network of coastal and island research stations in India and abroad will be established, the PM also said.
He further added that an International Conference on ‘Ocean economy and Pacific Island Countries’ would be held in New Delhi this year.
Observing that rivers have played as important a role in human history as oceans, he said, “Revival of rivers is an essential part of my commitment for a cleaner and healthier future for our society, economic opportunities for our people, and renewal of our heritage.”
Modi said India has a rich heritage of ecological knowledge and scientific institutions and human resources to mount concerted national action on conservation of nature that is rooted firmly in scientific studies and methods.
“And, if we wish to restore the harmony between humans and nature, we must also harness the full potential of traditional knowledge. Societies across the world have developed this enormous wealth through wisdom gathered over the ages,” he said.
He said they hold the secrets to economic, efficient and environment-friendly solutions to many problems. But, today, they were at risk of extinction in the globalised world, he added.
“Like traditional knowledge, science has also evolved through human experiences and exploration of nature. So, we must recognise that science, as we see it, does not constitute the only form of empirical knowledge about the world,” the PM said.