ByÂ Ranjeet Kumar:
The 99th Indian Science Congress session opened on the 3rd of Jan at the sprawling campus of KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. A five day long scientific carnival with focal theme Role of Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation with special reference to the Role of Women was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. His inaugural speech stressed the need of a comprehensive policy and strategy to meet the dynamic requirements of accelerating growth and sustainability to foster inclusive development. The three main focus areas should be food, energy and water security for the people. He further added the necessity of focusing on neglected areas and urged the scientific community not to be preoccupied by the problem of rich and rather focus on the issues pertaining to the under privileged. He stressed the need of science to focus on green growth and sustainability.
He added that though we have been able to make strong footprints in global science publication scenario in peer reviewed journals on one hand and increasing the number of doctorates on the other there is much to be done. He also added the need to increase the total R&D expenditure to 2% of the GDP as against 0.9% in the 12th plan. He envisaged the need of improved investments in R&D sector, creation of new innovation ecosystems, alignment of the science and technology policies with the inclusive developmental needs of the nation, expanding basic science infrastructure and making conducive collaboration both at local and global arena. He stressed the need of strengthening applied sciences in solving the problem along with basic research. The human resource and infrastructure are the core area that would be needed with more transparent inductions of talent pool to lead frontier areas of science. Finally he said that the, the pursuit of science is a process of unlocking the human mind. It is an exploration of the mystery, beauty and method in the universe by stretching the frontiers of our imagination. We need to invoke the power of science in every sphere of our economy and way of life.
The scientific fest was attended by as many as 20 Nobel Laureates about 500 foreign scientists across the globe along with the stalwarts in Indian science. It is expected to attract 15,000 delegates. With deliberation, discussions and brainstorming ahead it is expected to be an enriching and thought provoking experience and enabling ideas in changing the face of science in tackling contemporary issues.