PM: nation needs more scientists

Refers to Isro's mission to motivate girls & women

PM: nation needs more scientists

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the country needs many more scientists to create innovative solutions to benefit the common man and society.

In his monthly radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’, the prime minister asked students to develop an interest in the field of science, observing that it was inadequate among youngsters.

To motivate girls and women to pursue a career in science and technology, the prime minister referred to the participation of women scientists in Indian Space Research Organisation’s Mangalyaan probe, which was successfully sent into the orbit of Mars.

He also hailed the scientific community for the record launch of 104 satellites and the successful test-firing of a ballistic interceptor missile, saying the “tremendous” participation of “youth and women” in India’s space research programmes is a “major glorious dimension” in Isro’s success.

Speaking further, Modi said, “The country needs more and more scientists. Today’s scientist becomes a potent catalyst for an enduring change in the lives of our future generations.”

Only 27,532 (14.33%) of a total of 1.92 lakh researchers in India are women, according to government data. Government reports indicate that the gender gap is slowly getting narrowed in the higher education sector with the percentage of girl student enrolment rising from 39% in 2007 to 46% in 2014. However, the percentage of women in science stream continues to remain very low.

The girl student enrolment to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) was pegged abysmally low at 8% in 2015-16, even as the total intake capacity of the premier technical institutes is 10,500 students to undergraduate, 8,000 students to postgraduate and 3,000 to PhD programmes. The prime minister also took note of the “record production” of foodgrain and credited the farmers.

“Our farmer brothers and sisters have toiled hard to fill our granaries. More than 2,700 lakh tonnes of foodgrain have been produced in the country this year. This is 8% more than the last record set by them (farmers). I am happy that they heeded the needs of our poor people and cultivated various types of pulses on about 290 lakh hectares of land.”

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