Science policymakers highlighted the importance of attracting youth towards science and cultivating an innovative spirit from a very young age to develop scientific temper at the inauguration of the sixth edition of India International Science Festival (IISF 2020). The discussion was organized after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address on using science, technology, and innovation for the progress and development of the country.
Union Minister for Science, Technology, Earth Sciences, Health, and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan appealed to Science and Technology Ministers of all the states of the country to use science, technology, and innovation to the fullest to solve problems of their states.
“COVID-19 is a learning for all to understand the challenges of society and its solutions. Each and every issue can be solved through science and technology. We have a great science infrastructure, and we rank among the world’s best on all parameters. Science and Technology possibility has to be used to the fullest at the state level,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said in his address at the ‘State S&T Ministers Conclave’.
“The biggest challenge is to attract youth into science from an early age for optimal use of India’s talent for the progress of the country,” Director General, CSIR Dr. Shekhar C Mande said discussing the role of science, technology, and innovation and the way forward.
“We have a rich tradition of science and technology in the country. Our achievements in this field are unprecedented, and it has played a crucial role to take us to where we are today,” Dr. Mande said.
He emphasized that event-based teaching and learning promoted in the New Education Policy would help attract young minds into science and technology and develop scientific temper. “We need to spread science and technology in local languages to attract a large number of people and provide the population in the villages with equal opportunities to participate in science, technology, and innovation,” he added.
“We do not lack talent, and COVID-19 is a big example of how we escalated efforts to start producing various medical equipment and even went on to export them. Scientists in the country have all the potential, talent, and skill to realize the Prime Minister’s dream of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” Dr. Mande stressed.
Adviser, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and head, PCPM, Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, explained that starting innovation early would help in developing scientific temper and quality research. “Education starts early, but innovation starts very late. This needs to change,” Dr. Gupta said.
Dr. Gupta also explained how science is being used as an enabling tool by people in villages and remote areas. “The ultimate goal is to make science people-centric and use it as a key driver for economic and human development,” he pointed out while citing an example under a new proposed scheme, where wifi would be made available to villages.
“We are in the third position in the world both in the field of scientific publications as well as in startups. We are producing 25,000 Ph.Ds in science and are not very far behind from the US and China. In college research, we were in 13th position in 2013, but today we are in 9th position,” he said.