Governor of Andhra
Pradesh, Shri E. S. L. Narasimhan
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu
Union Minister for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh
Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences,
Shri Y. S. Chowdary
General President of the Indian Science Congress Association, Professor
D. Narayana Rao
Vice Chancellor of Sri Venkateswara University, Professor A. Damodaram
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am delighted to begin the New Year with distinguished scientists from
home and abroad in the holy city of Tirupati.
I am happy to inaugurate this 104th session of The Indian Science
Congress in the panoramic campus of Sri Venkateswara University.
And I appreciate the Indian Science Congress Association for choosing an
appropriate theme “Science & Technology for National Development” for
this year’s session.
The nation will always be grateful to the scientists who have worked
tirelessly to empower our society by their vision, labour, and
In November 2016, the country lost one such eminent scientist and
institution builder, Dr. M.G.K. Menon. I join you in paying tribute to
The speed and scale of changes we encounter today are unprecedented.
How are we going to respond to these challenges that we do not even know
could arise? It is a deep-rooted curiosity-driven scientific tradition
which allows quick adaptation to new realities.
Tomorrow’s experts will come from investments we make today in our
people and infrastructure. My government is committed to supporting
different streams of scientific knowledge; ranging from fundamental
science to applied science with emphasis on innovations.
In the last two sessions of the science congress, I presented before you
several key challenges and opportunities for the nation.
Some of these important challenges are in the key sectors of clean water
& energy, food, environment, climate, security, and healthcare.
We equally need to keep an eye on the rise of disruptive technologies
and be prepared to leverage them for growth. We need to clearly assess
the challenges and opportunities for our technology readiness and
I have been told that the Technology Vision 2035 document released in
last year’s Science Congress, is now developing into a detailed roadmap
for twelve key technology sectors. Further, NITI Aayog is evolving a
holistic science and technology vision for the country.
One important area that needs to be addressed is the rapid global rise
of Cyber-Physical Systems. This has the potential to pose unprecedented
challenges and stresses to our demographic dividend. But we can turn it
into a huge opportunity by research, training and skilling in robotics,
artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, deep
learning, quantum communication and Internet-of-Things.
There is a need to develop and exploit these technologies in services
and manufacturing sectors; in agriculture, water, energy & traffic
management; health, environment, infrastructure and Geo Information
Systems; security; financial systems and in combating crime.
We need to develop an Inter-Ministerial National Mission in the
Cyber-Physical Systems to secure our future by creation of basic R&D
infrastructure, manpower and skills.
The oceans that surround the Indian peninsula have over thirteen hundred
of our islands. They also give us a seven and a half thousand kilometre
coastline and 2.4 million square kilometres of Exclusive Economic Zone.
They contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host
of other natural resources. The ocean economy should be a significant
dimension of our sustainable future.
I am told, that the Ministry of Earth Sciences is working to launch a
Deep Ocean Mission to explore, understand and harness this resource in a
responsible way. This could be a transformative step for the prosperity
and security of the nation.
Our best science and technology institutions should further strengthen
their basic research in line with leading global standards. Translating
this basic knowledge into innovations, start-ups and industry will help
us achieve inclusive and sustainable growth.
SCOPUS database indicates that India now ranks sixth in the world with
respect to scientific publications, growing at a rate of about fourteen
percent as against the world average growth rate of about four percent.
I am sure that our scientists will further meet the challenges of
enhanced quality of basic research, its technology translation and its
By 2030 India will be among the top three countries in science and
technology and will be among the most attractive destinations for the
best talent in the world. The wheels we set in motion today will achieve
Science must meet the rising aspirations of our people. India fully
appreciates the strong role science and technology plays in meeting the
societal needs. We must address the problems of urban-rural divide and
work for inclusive development, economic growth and employment
generation. To enable this, there is a need for a new overarching
structure that will coordinate with all the relevant stakeholders.
Our ability to mount and execute large, transformational national
missions requires effective partnerships that integrate with a large
stakeholder base. The effectiveness of these missions can be ensured
only by getting out of our deep rooted silos, and adopting a
collaborative approach, which is essential to address our multifarious
development challenges rapidly and effectively. Our ministries, our
scientists, R&D institutions, industries, start-ups, universities and
IITs, all should work together seamlessly. In particular, our
infrastructure and socio-economic ministries must make appropriate use
of science and technology.
Our Institutions could consider inviting outstanding scientists from
abroad including NRIs for long term research associations. We should
involve foreign and NRI PhD students in post-doctoral research in our
Another empowering factor for scientific delivery is the Ease of Doing
Science. If we want science to deliver, we must not constrain it.
Building a strong Science and Technology infrastructure that is
accessible to academia, start-ups, industry and R&D labs is a priority
of the government. We need to address the problems of ease of access,
maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipments in our
Scientific Institutions. The desirability of establishing professionally
managed, large regional centers in PPP mode housing high value
scientific equipment should be examined.
On the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility, the concept of
Scientific Social Responsibility needs to be inculcated to connect our
leading institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and
colleges. We must create an environment for sharing of ideas and
The brightest and best in every corner of India should have the
opportunity to excel in science. This will ensure that our youth get
high-end training exposure to the best of science and technology to make
them job-ready in a competitive world.
To this end, I would exhort the National Laboratories to connect with
schools and colleges to develop appropriate training programs. This will
also help with the effective use and maintenance of our vast scientific
and technological infrastructure.
Laboratories, Research Institutions and Universities in each major city
region, should be interlinked to function on a hub and spoke model. The
hubs will share major infrastructure, drive our national science
missions and be the engines that link discovery to application.
College teachers with background in research can be connected to the
neighbouring universities and R&D institutions. Outreach activities from
the institutions of eminence to schools, colleges and polytechnics will
activate the latent Science and Technology manpower from the educational
institutions in your neighbourhoods.
Seeding the power of ideas and innovation in schoolchildren will broaden
the base of our innovation pyramid and secure the future of our nation.
As a step in this direction, Ministry of Science & Technology is
initiating a programme focused on students of classes 6 to 10.
The programme will scout, mentor, reward and showcase ten lakh top
innovative ideas focused on local needs from 5 lakh schools.
We must provide equal opportunities to the girl child to enroll and
excel in the under-represented disciplines of science and engineering
and ensure continued participation of trained women scientists in nation
For a large and diverse country like India, technology needs to span a
wide range; from advanced space, nuclear and defence technologies to
rural development needs in providing clean water, sanitation, renewable
energy, community health, etc.
While we excel globally, we also need to develop local solutions that
fit our unique context.
There is a need to develop appropriate Micro-Industry models for the
rural areas that use local resources and skills to meet the local needs
and generate local enterprise and employment.
For example, we should develop a host of technologies based on efficient
co-generation for clusters of villages and semi-urban areas. These
technologies should aim to convert agri and bio-waste to satisfy
multiple needs of electricity, clean water, crop-processing and cold
The role of science in planning, decision making, and governance has
never been more important.
We need to develop and deploy Geo-information Systems to meet the
development goals of our citizens, Gram Panchayats, Districts and
States. A coordinated effort by the Survey of India, ISRO and the
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology can be
For sustainable development, we must take strong measures to focus on
Waste to Wealth Management in the critical areas of electronic waste,
biomedical and plastic wastes, and solid waste and waste water
We are scaling up R&D on clean carbon technologies, technologies for
enhancement of energy efficiency and increased and efficient use of
Focus on environment and climate remains our priority to ensure
sustainable development. Our strong scientific community can also
effectively address our unique challenges. For example, can we find
farmer-centric solutions to the problem of crop burning? Can we redesign
our brick kilns for reduced emissions and greater energy efficiency?
Science and technology is a key factor in the Startup India Programme
launched in January 2016. Two other strong initiatives are Atal
Innovation Mission and NIDHI - the National Initiative for Development
and Harnessing Innovations. These programmes focus on building an
innovation driven enterprise ecosystem. Further, Public-Private
partnerships with CII, FICCI and high technology private companies are
being pursued to strengthen the innovation ecosystem.
Our Scientists have contributed strongly to the strategic vision of the
The Indian space programme has put India among the top space faring
nations. We have achieved a high degree of self-sufficiency in space
technology, including launch vehicle development, payload and satellite
building, applications for development and the building of core
competence and capacity.
The Defence Research & Development Organisation has played the role of a
force multiplier for the Armed Forces with its systems and technologies.
We are leveraging strategic international partnerships and
collaborations based on the principles of mutuality, parity and
reciprocity, to make Indian Science globally competitive. We are also
placing special emphasis on building strong relationships with our
neighbouring countries and multilateral fora such as BRICS. The best of
global science is helping us unravel creation’s mysteries and develop
cutting-edge technologies. Last year, we activated the 3.6 meter optical
telescope in Devasthal in Uttarakhand made with Indo-Belgian
collaboration. Recently, we approved the LIGO project with USA to
construct a state-of-the-art detector system in India.
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that the Government remains committed
to provide the best support to our Scientists and Scientific
I am sure that our scientists will scale up their efforts ranging from
the quality of basic sciences to technology development to innovation.
Let Science and Technology become a strong tool of inclusive development
and betterment of the weakest and poorest segments of our society.
Together, we will prevail to make a just, equitable and prosperous