Speaking at the inauguration of the Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit, a global virtual summit of overseas and resident Indian researchers and academicians, Modi said his government has taken numerous measures to boost science, research and innovation in various fields, including agriculture where the food grain production has hit a record high.
“Science is at the core of our efforts towards socio-economic transformations. We broke inertia in the system,” he said, adding that the clarion call for an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self reliant India) includes a vision of global welfare.
Our start-up sector will gain from your mentorship, he said at the inauguration of the summit, which will continue till October 31.
More than 3,000 overseas Indian origin academicians and scientists from 55 countries and over 10,000 resident academicians and scientists are taking part in the summit.
About 200 academic institutes and S&T department, led by Principal Scientific Advisor, are organising the summit.
Highlighting India’s scientific contributions, the prime minister said its rich history needs to be amplified and lamented that a lot many youngsters have been fed the “lie” that everything before the modern age was “superstition and dark ages”.
He said it is Indian innovation of zero that is at the root of computers, programming, mobiles and applications.
Inspired by our glorious past and powered by our achievements in the present, India is looking ahead with great hope and “we are aiming to build a secure and prosperous future for coming generations,” he said.
The need of the hour is to ensure more youngsters develop interest in science and for that people must get well-versed with “science of history and history of science”, he added.
Listing numerous steps taken by his government to boost science, research and innovation, he said India recently introduced pioneering space reforms, and they provide opportunities for both industry and academia.
“Our agricultural research scientists have worked hard to ramp up our production of pulses. Today we import only a very small fraction of our pulses. Our food-grain production has hit a record high,” he said.
Modi further said his government is encouraging indigenous vaccine production.
“Four new vaccines were introduced into our immunisation programme in 2014 including an indigenously developed Rotavirus vaccine,” he said.
He asserted that the government wants top-class scientific research to help the farmers, and also spoke about its ambitious mission to eliminate TB by 2025, five years before the global target.
Modi said the VAIBHAV summit has brought together eminent people from India as well as from abroad, making it a confluence of great minds from across the world.
“You have also made some good suggestions for improving the research ecosystem in India. I hope this summit is going to be very productive,” he told the participants.
Referring to the time periods like the stone age, the bronze age, the iron age, the space age and the digital age, Modi said each of those marked some key technological advancements, and added that many historical questions have been solved with the help of science over the last century.
Thanking the participating scientists for offering their suggestions and ideas, Modi said,”you have brilliantly covered many subjects. Most of you highlighted the importance of greater collaboration between the Indian academic and research ecosystem with their foreign counterparts.”
The aim of the summit is to bring Indian origin luminaries in academic institutes and R&D organisations across the world and resident counterparts on a single platform to debate upon collaboration mechanisms to strengthen academic and S&T (science and technology) base in India for global development.
The inauguration was followed by online deliberation sessions.
The initiative involves multiple levels of interactions among overseas experts and Indian counterparts over a month-long series of webinars and video conferences, among other activities.
Over 1,500 panelists from 40 countries, 200 leading Indian R&D and academic institutions are virtually deliberating in 18 different areas and 80 topics in more than 200 deliberation sessions.
The concluding session is planned on October 31 on the occasion of Sardar Patel Jayanti.