PM Modi inaugurates 103rd Indian Science Congress

MYSORE, 03/01/2016 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday appealed to scientists to harness the full potential of traditional knowledge so that India can craft "local and more sustainable solutions" for modern-day challenges. He also urged them to focus on five Es - Economy, Environment, Energy, Empathy, Equity, and keep them at the centre of "enquiry and engineering" to make lives of people across the globe better.

"If we wish to restore the harmony between human 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. And, they hold the secrets to economic, efficient and environment friendly solutions to many of our problems", said the Prime Minister.

He was delivering his inaugural speech at the 103rd Indian Science Congress at the University of Mysore campus.

Expressing his concerns on how traditional knowledge is at risk of extinction in a globalised world, Modi said, "Like traditional knowledge, science has also evolved through human experiences and exploration of nature. So, we must recognize that science, as we see it, does not constitute the only form of empirical knowledge about the world.

"And, we must bridge the distance between traditional knowledge and modern science, so that we can craft local and more sustainable solutions for our challenges."

In his inaugural speech, Modi preferred to focus on issues of innovations and reminded the gathering of what he had promised in Paris during the climate conference in November when he along with other leaders, including US president Barack Obama and French president Francois Hollande, pitched for doubling of the national investments in the area of innovation.

Modi said, "I also said in Paris that innovation is important not just for combating climate change, but also for climate justice. For, the developed world must leave enough of the little carbon space left for developing countries to grow. For this, we need research and innovation to make clean energy technology available, accessible and affordable for all.

"At Paris, President Hollande, President Obama and I joined a number of global leaders for an Innovation Summit. We pledged to double national investments in innovation; and, build a global partnership that combines the responsibility of governments with the innovative capacity of the private sector. I also suggested an international network of 30-40 universities and labs focusing for next ten years on transforming the way we produce, distribute and consume energy. We will also pursue this in G20."

Speaking about increasing the country's focus on ocean or blue economy, he said, "We will raise the level of our scientific efforts in marine science".

He said, "We have entered into agreements on marine science and ocean economy with several countries. We will also hold an International Conference on 'Ocean economy and Pacific Island Countries' in New Delhi in 2016."

Emphasizing on why it is important for India to grow not only for its own sake but for the sake of the entire humanity, Modi said, "The success of one-sixth of humanity will also mean a more prosperous and a sustainable future for the world. We can only do this with your leadership and support".

Referring to five Es, the Prime Minister noted that the impact of scientific innovations would be the most when scientists and technologists will keep these principles - Five Es "at the centre of their enquiry and engineering."

According to the PM, the five Es are explained as: Economy - when we find cost effective and efficient solutions; Environment - when our carbon footprint is the lightest and the impact on the ecology is 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 and Equity - when science advances inclusive development and improves the welfare of the weakest.

Elaborating on these points, he said, "The impact of science will be the most when scientists and technologists will keep the principles of what I call 'Five Es' at the centre of their enquiry and engineering."

He further said, "This year, we mark a hundred years of a significant moment in the history of science, when Albert Einstein published in 1916 'The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity.' Today, we must recall the humanism that defined his thought: "Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours."

Concluding his 33-minute speech, Modi said, "Nothing can be a higher duty for us, whether we are in public life, or we are private citizens, and whether we are in business or explore science, than to leave the planet in a better state for our future generations. Let the different disciplines of science, technology and engineering unite behind this common purpose".

Over 100 eminent scientists from different universities and research institutions will deliver plenary talks at the Indian Science Congress on subjects like Nano Science, Space Science, Technology & Applications, Diabetes, Evolution: The Frontiers, Atomic Energy, Safe water and sanitation, Diseases and drug development, Public-Private partnership for the Swachh Bharat Mission initiative during the five-day meet.

Noble laureates Arthur B McDonald of USA; Dan Schetman of Israel; John Gurdan of UK; Serge Haroche of France; David J Gross of USA and Fields Medalist Manjul Bhargava will be the key speakers at a special panel discussion on the topic "Science and Technology: Present and Future".

As part of Indian Science Congress, the Children Science Congress will be inaugurated by Nobel Laureate John B Gurdon (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012) on January 4 at the amphitheatre, Manasagangothri inside the university campus.

Besides, the 5th Women's Science Congress will also be inaugurated on the second day on January 4.

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