Rich nations must correct damages done by them to climate, says Manmohan

January 3rd, 2008 - 6:14 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
Visakhapatnam, Jan 3 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that the developed industrialised nations of the world, which have afflicted most damage to the global climate must bear the ‘greatest responsibility’ for correcting the damage done by them.
“I do sincerely believe that the world cannot walk down the path of environmentally harmful development that developed industrial economies have pursued thus far. They undoubtedly bear the greatest responsibility for what has happened and must also bear therefore the greatest responsibility for correcting damage,” he said in his address at the 95th Indian Science Congress held here.
Stating that the Climate Change poses a great challenge to India’s developmental prospects, he stressed on the need for a three-pronged strategy to tackle it that would include a global response, a national response and a local response.
“An effective global response has to grapple with issues of sustainability, issues of equity and thirdly issues of efficiency,” he said, adding, “I believe our response must be pro-active and based on our finding feasible and practical solutions to the real and potential threats we face.”
Citing, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi’s famous remark that the Earth has enough resources to cater to human needs, but not enough for its greed, Singh said, “We need an alternative approach more mindful of our resource endowments, and also of the need to avoid damage to our environment.”
Five Thrust Areas
He identified five major areas where application of knowledge must be done on a war-footing , which include food production and conservation of scarce water resources; energy generation; manufacturing technologies; mass transportation systems, and building and construction technology.
He stressed on the development of new technologies that would raise agriculture yields, and simultaneously prevent the degradation of scarce land and water resources.
“To these immediate challenges are added the longer-term challenge of Climate Change and the effect it may have on agricultural production and agricultural productivity. We must respond by undertaking a major revitalization of research in our agricultural universities to give it a much more strategic thrust,” he said, adding, “We are committed to investing in water saving technologies and to the scientific management of our water resources. To this must be added agricultural research aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity in conditions of moisture stress.”
On the scientific research scenario in the country, he said by increasing the gross budgetary support for education in the XIth Five-Year Plan to 19 percent as opposed to 7.7 per cent in the Xth Five-Year Plan, the new Plan is in fact a National Education Plan.
“Our strategy for the promotion of science education in the XIth Plan will aim at (a) expanding and strengthening the Science and Technology base in our Universities, and (b) promote excellence through competitively secured funding at centers for advanced research. In addition, discipline-specific education programmes will be launched in strategic sectors like nuclear sciences and space sciences to capture talent at the ‘plus-two’ stage itself,” he said.
“All this marks a quantum leap in the infrastructure available for good quality teaching and research. At the last Science Congress I gave you my assurance that we are willing to increase the annual expenditure on science and technology from less than one percent of our GDP to two per cent of our GDP in the next five years. That assurance stands,” he added.
Stating that the country needs an army of teachers, especially in the basic sciences and in the field of mathematics, he urged teaching community of the country to come forward with innovative ideas and out-of-the-box solutions to meet this challenge effectively.
He suggested setting up of a Monitoring Group that would enlist the new ideas thrown up at the Science Congress on the five thrust areas that he had stated earlier.
“We need a quantum jump in science education and research. This agenda can no longer wait. I am aware that we need policy reform, we need institutional reform, we need organizational reform and, above all, we need more investment in science education and research,” he added. (ANI)

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