Scientists and researchers in universities and colleges should take up research on social issues prevailing in rural areas and provide suitable solutions to them. It was the need of the hour to develop villages. Policy on science and technology should also be changed, said E. Balagurusamy, former Vice-Chancellor, Anna University.

Delivering the valedictory address of the 11th Science Congress at the Gandhigram Rural Institute near here on Monday, he said that research scholars in universities and colleges should also engage in applied research besides presenting research papers in the US, UK and Japan. Change in mindset at high education level was imminent. “Do research useful to the society because we have lot of social problems such as water crisis, pollution, sanitary problems, hunger and poverty,” he added.

Number of research papers presented in India was the lowest in the world. Researchers should think of basic infrastructure, education and healthcare. Researchers, who were keen on submitting papers in foreign countries, should also prepare to submit their papers before the panchayat board. If such research worked well, that would be the real award.

Around 70 per cent of people had no toilet facilities in the country, 40 per cent had no drinking water, 300 million people living below poverty line and 200 million were going to bed without food.

The country was economically strong but socially weak. Science and technology should be adopted to strengthen the nation. But technology had not reached even higher educational institutions such as universities, even Anna University. “When will we take technologies to villages? We have a tough task ahead. Youth should work hard. But present day youth do not have even time to look after their parents, how will they take care of the village and the nation,” he wondered.

Liberalisation and privatisation and globalisation helped big industrialists and not farmers or the poor rural mass. Software companies were working for US and not for India, he said.

Despite excellent human and natural resources, we could not compete with China. India's production was just one fourth of the Chinese production. Agriculture productivity was also low in India. We need sustainable science and technology, he added. “You take real problems and give real solutions. Researchers should change their mindset and work for village development also. Mindset of youth and their parents should also be changed. Parents should teach their wards on the importance of hard work and value of money and job,” Dr. Balagurusamy said.

Kundrakudi Adigalar said that technology should reach people quickly for rural development.

Vice-Chancellor Soma Ramasamy said that the outcome of research should be translated into Tamil to facilitate a wider reach.