Following is the text
of the Speech of Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth
Sciences, Shri Vayalar Ravi at the 2nd INSPIRE Awards Ceremony in New
“My dear Children and their proud teachers and parents! I am extremely
happy to be here amidst all of you. This is the second such event where
children from all over the country, from each State and Union Territory,
have come after stiff competition among friends to demonstrate some of
the best projects developed at the School level. And, I am told that the
number of participants has grown substantially this year. As against 700
odd participants last year, we have over 1100 entries this year. I must
thank all of you and your teachers and parents for your active
participation in the INSPIRE Scheme. It is only when the enrolment in a
Scheme is so overwhelming that, we in the Government, feel convinced
that a crucial gap has indeed been filled. I must thank all of you for
your whole-hearted enrolment in this Scheme. And, the zeal, enthusiasm
and energy that all of you exude today is almost infectious.
Science and Technology have also been at the core of human development
since the beginning of human civilization. Each invention, has
revolutionized the way civilizations have grown. It is true that some of
these inventions came much earlier than their scientific explanations
because of day-to-day need, but these are major scientific inventions
nonetheless. Science and Technology as generator of wealth and economic
might came to the fore with Industrial Revolution in the recent world
history. In today's world, when anyone can source products from anywhere
in the world, it is not enough to just copy and produce at lower costs.
That cannot take us very far. We need to research, innovate and come up
with newer and more competitive products and technologies all the time.
And, this requires that our young people, children like you, take to
scientific research and innovate in the technology domain in larger and
larger numbers. Our recent achievements in Information Technology,
Biotechnology and Drugs and Pharma Sector prove that we can be a force
to reckon with once we are able to focus our attention and energies.
Seeing all of you in such large number bubbling with creative energy
assures me that our future is not only safe but bright in the hands of
all of you.
We are fortunate that the founding fathers of our Nation were quite
far-sighted and recognized quite early after independence the role
science and technology could play in instilling scientific temper among
people and in meeting the developmental goals of the nation. I would
like to quote the first few lines from the Scientific Policy Resolution
"The key to national prosperity, apart from the spirit of the people,
lies, in the modern age, in the effective combination of three factors,
technology, raw materials and capital, of which the first is perhaps the
most important, since the creation and adoption of new scientific
techniques can, in fact, make up for a deficiency in natural resources,
and reduce the demands on capital. But technology can only grow out of
the study of science and its applications…"
What prophetic words? It was our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru
who coined the word "scientific temper". "Scientific temper" finds a
mention in our Constitution as you would have seen in your NCERT
textbooks. The Government now plans to bring in a new Science,
Technology and Innovation Policy in 2013. However, you will find that
science and technology have been identified as the central enabling
forces in the development of the Nation in all these policy
pronouncements. Following up on these policy directions, the Government
has established large number of universities and colleges, IITs, NITs,
IISERs, national laboratories and mission agencies in the country over
the years. You are fortunate to be born at a time when there are
world-class institutions for education and research in almost all fields
in the country.
I am especially happy that all of you have worked on a creative project
at such a young age. It is well known that scientific creativity blooms
early in life. I am sure, all of you have heard of Maxwell. Without his
work on electrodynamics, there will be no electromagnetic waves --- no
radio, no mobile phones, no satellite communication and so on. Do you
know when he wrote his first scientific paper? At the age of 14.
Einstein wrote his first paper when he was 22 and did his path-breaking
work on special relativity when he was 26. Our own CV Raman wrote his
first paper when he was 18, Ramanujan started his own research by the
time he was 17, astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar's Nobel Prize
winning work was done when he was 19 or 20. The list is pretty long, but
the trend is very clear. There is something which causes people to make
path-breaking discoveries early in their lives. May be, because the
curiosity levels are higher when you are young and curiosity is the
first stage of scientific breakthroughs. Then, one is more likely to be
original in thinking when young because the mind is yet to be
conditioned. And '"originality" is the next most important thing in
scientific research. And, third, breaking new grounds in scientific
research requires a bit of adventure, and young people are more likely
to be adventurous than the old.
I will, therefore, like all of you, and the children in the country at
large who are not here, to continue with the passion of doing science.
Camps like this are important and inspiring first steps. The pursuit of
science is rigorous and intense. The country has made substantial
investments in innovative schemes like INSPIRE and various attractive
scholarship schemes in the recent past. A large number of quality
educational institutions have been established like new IITs and IISERs.
The private sector is also doing its bit to promote higher education in
science and engineering. Large number of R&D labs are being established
by the industry, both national and multinational. We have done all this
to offer our children good opportunities to pursue science education and
a research career afterwards. I would strongly urge you to make use of
these opportunities. I would like to see you working hard for science
and winning laurels for yourself and the country. Make use of the
opportunities, study and work hard on your research and do us all proud.
Seeing your enthusiasm and commitment, I have full faith that our young
children will do this Nation proud by their achievements in science and