Science for Shaping the Future of India

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The theme of this Congress, `Science for Shaping the Future of India`, reflects the dream of every generation of Indian scientists. Faster growth over the next few decades, more sustainable development based on food and energy security, and socio-economic inclusion made possible by rapid growth of basic social services, such as education and health, are all crucial for defining India’s future. Science, technology and innovation all have an important role to play in achieving these objectives. Science and technology development have been central to the phenomenal material advancement and efficiency in the use of resources seen in the last hundred years. The pace of change has only accelerated in the last few decades, as globalization and new technology have enhanced people’s access to knowledge and their ability to leverage it through collaboration. India has benefited from this epochal transformation by embracing these trends. Since technological changes typically emanate from established structures, they may at times re-inforce them and inhibit the advancement of equity and equality. As India seeks a sustained growth of its national income, we must endeavour to harness the tools of science to cater to the needs of the underprivileged and to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Nearly 65 percent of our people live in rural areas. The increase in their living standards depends greatly on the growth of agricultural production and productivity. The Twelfth Five Year Plan assumes that a sustained growth of our agriculture at the rate of 4 percent per annum is essential for the achievement of food security for our country. This growth is constrained by shortages of water and also of land. We need new breakthroughs in water-saving technologies of cultivation, enhancement of land productivity and development of climate-resilient varieties. This transformation of agriculture must be the top priority concern of our public policies, including science and...
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