Focus on farmers' problems: VP Naidu to CSIR scientists

Focus on farmers' problems: M Venkaiah Naidu to CSIR scientists

He said institutions like the CSIR need to gear up to address any sudden and unexpected problem

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. Credit: PTI photo

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asked the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to reinvent itself, turn futuristic and come out with new innovations, techniques and solutions to address the problems faced by farmers.

Participating in the 80th Foundation Day celebrations of the CSIR here, he urged CSIR laboratories and institutes to address challenges that require long-term scientific and technological solutions.

Naidu asked the CSIR to bestow greater attention on agricultural research and come out with new innovations, techniques and solutions to address the problems faced by farmers. He cited climate change, drug resistance, pollution, epidemic and pandemic outbreaks among the challenges that need the focus of the scientific community.

"Agriculture is the basic culture of the country. I am son of a farmer. Bachpan mein kuch din kheti bhi kiya rajniti mein aane se pehle. Aisa lag raha hai, woh hi behtar tha. Karen kya, yahan aaya, isme phans gaya (As a child I was involved in cultivation for some time before entering politics. It seems that (agriculture) was better. What to do, I got stuck here)," the vice president said on a lighter note.

Observing that the Covid-19 pandemic is just one unforeseen crisis and that there are many challenges, he said institutions like the CSIR need to gear up to address any sudden and unexpected problem.

"Each laboratory of the CSIR must come out with a clear roadmap on the new research projects that seek to address various challenges and contribute to the larger good of humanity," Naidu stressed.

Noting that India has made a significant contribution to the world of science in space, atomic energy, ocean science and defence research, he said as the nation celebrates 75 years of Independence, this is an appropriate time to see how it can accelerate ongoing development.

He said the ultimate aim of science should be to improve people's lives and make them comfortable.

Observing that investment by industries in research and development in India was insignificant, Naidu urged corporates and industries to form close linkages with leading scientific institutions, identify important R&D projects and invest in them.

"This will not only boost funding but also improve both quality and innovation," he said.

Pointing out that the coronavirus has overwhelmed the world despite scientific and technological advancements, he said the virus swept through the globe with alarming virulence, infecting millions and claiming thousands of lives.

Lauding the scientific and medical fraternity for leading the nation's battle in the fight against the pandemic with grit and determination, he said the CSIR scientists and researchers worked tirelessly to develop solutions -- be it diagnostics, vaccines, medicines, makeshift hospitals and medical assistive devices.

Observing that India is implementing the largest vaccination drive in the world, the vice president said the fact that 85 crore doses of vaccine have been administered is a remarkable achievement.

He said this was largely facilitated by India's indigenous vaccine, Covaxin and other vaccines like Covishield that was manufactured in India. "I must compliment the vaccine manufacturers for rising to the occasion and ramping up the production to meet the huge demand for vaccines in the country," he said.

Naidu said CSIR scientists are the pride of the nation, thanks to the initiatives taken by forefathers of CSIR and early leadership of the country right from Jawaharlal Nehru to other ministers as also the great scientists who focussed on starting all the laboratories.

The vice president, who gave away Young Scientists Awards, complimented the winners in various categories, including the CSIR Innovation Award for School Children.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of Science and Technology Jitendra Singh said that he would like CSIR and all the science departments to brainstorm and come up with a blue print of the science and technology innovations needed in the next 10 years if India has to be globally competitive.

"We should not restrict our ambition to be the best in India but be the best in the world," a statement issued by the Vice President Secretariat quoted the minister as saying.

He underlined that India is blessed with the demographic dividend of youth and they can take up any challenge with the right training and motivation.

Singh said he is delighted to see the power of innovation among the winners of CSIR Innovation Award for School Children and added that they will be the future entrepreneurs, industry leaders, scientists and professors.

Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India K Vijay Raghavan, Director-General of CSIR Shekhar C Mande, senior scientists, researchers and awardees were present on the occasion.

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