Innovation key to solving country's critical problems: PMOctober 21, 2010
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said that innovation in conservation methods is key to solving the critical challenges our nation faces in providing food, water and energy security to the people.
"In India we have lived with the idea of being a resource-rich land, taking for granted the limitless bounty of mother nature. In fact, the reality is that as a nation we are not well-endowed with natural resources when measured on a per capita basis. We should therefore inculcate the traditional values of thrift embedded in our culture and our civilisation and saving in the use of our scarce natural resources," Singh said.
The prime minister was speaking after giving away the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize for exceptional contribution in the field of science to 20 scientists at a ceremony here.
"Scientific innovation should be harnessed to the needs for conservation. We have to extract more from less. We have to be able to develop technologies that create wealth from waste, thereby tackling the depletion and degradation of our environment while conserving our rich biodiversity and finite resources," he said.
The prime minister said that we are in a period of transition in Indian science.
"We have to build infrastructural assets but also knowledge bases. We need to generate knowledge but also know how to put (it) to good use. We need to encourage individual excellence but also solid team work. I am very optimistic about the future of our country and the future of science in our country," he said.
The Indian government has declared the present decade to be the 'Decade of Innovation'.
"I sincerely believe that we need to make a break with the past. We need to create new systems, new structures and new ways of doing things that not just encourage individual excellence but also harness it effectively into socially productive multiplier outputs," he said.
It is time therefore that the new generation of Indian scientists take on the responsibility of thinking about the future of Indian science and take the mantle of leadership in their own hands, he said.
Calling for support from private sector, Singh said: "If we are to give meaning to our search for new frontiers in Indian science, then a much larger participation of the private sector is also essential."
"We have to leverage the private sector's strengths by creating high impact collaborations. Let private enterprise partner public science and technology institutions in their translation and transformational efforts. Let them join hands with our public institutions in creating new manufacturing strategies for both strategic and non-strategic applications. Let there be publicly owned and privately operated world class research and development facilities."
The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes are awarded to scientists who are below the age of 45 for their contribution to science.