Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday lauded the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research for its achievements but rued that the country had not been able to a make a mark in the global arena.
In an address at a CSIR function got up to celebrate the 70th Foundation Day here, Dr. Singh said: “We cannot rest on our laurels. As a nation, we have not succeeded in mobilising enough private investment in science to raise our investment in scientific research to two per cent of GDP. We need to recognise that excellence has not percolated across all research and academic institutions. We have not been able to make an impact on a world-scale commensurate with our large scientific manpower pool.”
The CSIR should devote itself to these national challenges in the years to come. “It will have to take up national leadership in science, engineering and technology.”
Recalling the history of the CSIR, the Prime Minister complemented it on making an attempt to make healthcare affordable by exploiting the powers of open source drug discovery and remaining firmly rooted in the country’s social milieu while selecting and implementing projects. “I am glad that the Council has proven its professional worth in every phase of India’s growth in line with prevailing national policies and priorities.”
Referring to the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research recently set up by the CSIR to train young scientists and engineers in transdisciplinary skills, he said: “This is a good initiative and I look forward to early results.”
Dr. Singh presented the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for 2011 to 11 young scientists: A.P. Sharma of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, R. Shankaranarayanan of the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, B. Sundaram of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, G.N. Sastry of the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, S. Doraiswamy of the National Institute of Oceanography, Sirshendu De of IIT Kharagpur, U. Ramamurthy and K.N. Balaji of the Indian Institute of Science, Mahajan Mj of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, P. Sarkar of the Indian Institute of Statistics and S. Minwalla of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
Congratulating the awardees, the Prime Minister said, “Young scientists must dream big and refuse to despair.”