Science labs must align their priorities to national needs: PM

Science labs must align their priorities to national needs: PM

"It is our scientific capabilities that will determine our ability to overcome challenges which lie ahead in areas such as climate change, clean energy, environment friendly technologies, water management, affordable health care, food security and biotechnology," he said at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) here.

"The country looks up to its premier scientific institutions like the NCL for finding solutions to some of the most vexing problems that confront our society and development efforts. Our scientific laboratories must align their priorities even more closely to the national needs.

"They must contribute to the creation of wealth and deliver solutions which would change the lives of the most vulnerable sections of our society," Singh said.Emphasising the role of scientific institutions in producing solutions to social needs, the prime minster said, "Solutions must be found in a timely manner and must then move out of the laboratory quickly and gain wider acceptance."

Noting that the government had declared 2010-2020 as the 'Decade of Innovations', he said, "We need to instill the spirit of innovation in our young minds so that they could
Expressing concern over insufficient numbers of students taking up science after 10+2 stage, Singh said, "It is important to bring our bright young men and women into the fold of exciting and stimulating research environment of colleges and universities."
There is a need to improve the quality of teaching science in schools, focus on faculty development, increase our expenditure on science and technology from the current low level of about one per cent of our GDP and further strengthen academia-industry interface.

"Our competitive advantage in the R and D sector may be lost unless we ensure that the country produces on a continuing basis an adequate number of competent and motivated young people who could lead our national laboratories, science agencies and knowledge based industries," he said. Laying down foundation stone of the new campus of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), the prime minster said the project aims at creating world class institutions for higher education in science.

Hailing role of NCL -- one of the first research laboratories conceived by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-- Singh said the laboratory had made a seminal contribution to Indian pesticide industry.

"Post 1970, the research conducted at the NCL had given birth to the Indian generic drug industry, a forerunner to the vibrant Indian pharmaceutical industry of today. More recently, NCL has contributed to the growth of petrochemicals, polymers and fine chemical industry," he said.

Stating that the power and status of a nation is determined by its achievements in science and technology, the prime minister urged scientific institutions to assume a leadership role and take on the "challenge to build a new and resurgent India".

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