Expressing confidence that India would make much progress in science and technology President Pratibha Patil said here on Monday that this alone would not do. “For a ‘force multiplier effect,’ benefits must accrue to the people in the villages and cities of the country.”
“A store of scientific knowledge can only be useful when it is used for the betterment of people’s daily lives. What can our scientific fraternity do to help this?” she asked at a function to mark the conclusion of platinum jubilee celebrations of the Indian National Science Academy at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.
“The importance of nations in the 21st century shall be judged not by their economic strength alone but also by their power to conceptualise inventions and bring benefits to people,” Ms. Patil observed.
“A larger pool of world-class scientific human resources that is striving to expand the frontiers of human knowledge will give any society a strategic resource for its future,” she added.
This becomes all the more important as the world is moving forward rapidly and decisively into an era where societies and economies are increasingly based on knowledge, Ms. Patil said.
Second wave of investment
Underscoring the need for an education system that encourages the study of science among the younger generation she pointed out that having understood this India has launched its “second wave” of investment in higher education.
“We are improving and expanding education facilities and setting up more institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Science and Central universities. We seek to enhance the number of people with higher education and to better their competence,” the President said.
“Science and technology have a vital role in funding solutions for a wide range of human activities. Their contribution to deal with the issues of the day, namely, water and food security, energy security, prevention of disease and medical discoveries is enormous,” she noted.
“As leading scientists, I am sure, all of you present here would be looking into the question of human existence.” Ms. Patil added.
Laboratories for welfare of humanity
The President visited the Structural Genomics Laboratory as well as the Physics Laboratory of the institution and said that she was “confident that it is work done in laboratories like this that many solutions for the welfare of humanity will be found.”
The Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Professor M. Vijayan, President, Indian National Science Academy, were among those present at the occasion.
Later in the day Ms. Patil inaugurated the newly installed solar photovoltaic power project at Raj Bhavan. Besides the Governor, the Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Farooq Abdullah was present.