Benefits of science should reach masses: Patil to scientists (Lead)

December 7th, 2009 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil Kolkata, Dec 7 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Monday told Indian scientists that the fruits of science should reach the masses as the importance of nations in the 21st century would be determined not only on economic strength but also in their ability to conceptualise inventions for people’s benefit.
Pointing out that the world was moving forward rapidly and decisively into an era where societies and economies are incrementally based on knowledge, the president said: “The importance of nations in the 21st Century shall be judged not by their economic strength alone, but also by their power to conceptualise inventions and bring their benefits to people.

“For a force multiplier effect, benefits of science must accrue to our people in our villages and in our cities. A store of scientific knowledge can only be useful when it is used for the betterment of the life of the people,” Patil said, emphasising the importance of encouraging the younger generation to study science.

She was delivering the inaugural address during the concluding function of Indian National Science Academy’s (INSA) platinum jubilee year celebrations at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) here.

Patil noted that the country has launched its ’second wave’ of investment in higher education and said: “We are improving and expanding educational facilities and setting up more institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology… We seek to enhance the number of people with higher education and to better their competence.”

She urged the scientists to look into the question of human existentialism and called upon them to devise ways for interaction with grassroot-level innovators who have come out with practical devices for dealing with the problems of everyday lives “like air conditioning in earthen fridges, scooters running on flow of air”.

“Such people deserve encouragement, support and guidance,” said independent India’s first woman head of state.

Praising the country’s scientific community for its contribution in enhancing agricultural production, and significant role in nuclear and space research activities as well as in other branches of scientific excellence, Patil said India’s growth has been propelled by advances in research and development.

However, she conceded that the country needs more researchers and scientists.

“We now have researchers and scientists, though their numbers need to be increased, who are well acquainted with the most modern advances in basic and applied areas. They have the knowledge base to undertake research in technologies required for the advancement of the nation”.

“This is our strength as we build our nation and as we engage with the world,” she said.

State Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi was also present at the programme.

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