PM warns against growing intolerance (Roundup)

June 2nd, 2012 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Kolkata, June 2 (IANS) Saying public debate seemed to have become a “hostage to sensationalism”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday warned against “growing intolerance and “narrow mindedness among Indians”.

“In recent times, I have been observing a growing intolerance among our people of dissent and opinions that contradict the prevailing orthodoxy,” the prime minister said here at Calcutta University.

He was addressing the inception ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA).

“Public debate is often hostage to sensationalism,” he said. “I sometimes fear that a growing culture of narrow mindedness might affect the creative, innovative and imaginative instincts of our youth.”

Manmohan Singh was on a three-hour visit to the city during which he also laid the foundation stone for the second campus of the hallowed Bose Institute in Salt Lake city.

The institute was founded by scientist Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose in the early 20th century. He did not speak at the Bose Institute.

At Calcutta University, the prime minister urged the scientific community to speak out and make more effective contributions, and emphasised the need to use science to fuel development.

“We have to use our abundant intellectual resources to find new pathways of development that use our scarce natural resources judiciously,” he said.

Lamenting the lack of optimal use of science and technology in India’s development processes, Manmohan Singh stressed the need to raise the profile of science.

“Our government has invested as never before in Indian science. I believe that the huge expansion in educational infrastructure that this government has overseen will create the building blocks of a modern knowledge economy and, more importantly, society.”

Singh enumerated infrastructural inadequacy as hindrances to the process but was confident of overcoming them.

He said the government planned to formulate a new science and technology policy within a year.

The Association has a proposal to set up a Science Academy for the Young during the centenary year.

“Special sessions on the use of high technology, renewable energy and public health challenges like malnutrition will be held. We will also launch a Hall of Fame in cyberspace to portray globally the contribution of Indian science,” said Singh.

He proposed that the technical programmes of the Indian Science Congress in Kolkata in January 2013 begin with a special lecture in honour of Shri Ashutosh Mukherjee, who personified the national science movement that took shape a hundred years ago.

A special scheme for 100 doctoral research fellowships annually is also in the offing.

Also on the anvil is a proposal to introduce a scheme to invite 25 young scientists from neighbouring countries to undertake doctoral research in India.

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