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Text of PM’s address at Vaishwik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit 2020

Text of PM's address at Vaishwik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit 2020

Namaskar!

Greetings and gratitude to you all, for joining this conversation. This forum has got together distinguished talent, both Pravasi and Indian. Vaishwik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit 2020 celebrates science and innovation from India and the world. I would call it a true Sangam, or confluence of great minds. Through this gathering, we seek to form a long-lasting association for empowering India and our planet .

Friends,

I would like to thank the scientists who offered their comments, suggestions and ideas today. You have brilliantly covered many subjects in your interventions. Most of you highlighted the importance of greater collaboration  between Indian academic and research ecosystem with their foreign counterparts. Indeed, that is the fundamental aim of this Summit. You correctly point towards the need of driving scientific research, towards the needs of society. You also made some good suggestions, for improving the research ecosystem in India. I would like to thank all of you, for your views. Listening to your words, I could see that this Vaibhav Summit is going to be a rich and productive exchange.

Friends,

Science has remained at the core of the progress of human-kind. When we look back, at the centuries of human existence, how do we divide the time periods? Stone age, Bronze age, Iron age, Industrial age, Space age and Digital age. These are some of the terms used. Clearly, each phase has been shaped by some significant technological advance. Changes in technology have brought changes in our life-styles. It also increased scientific curiosity.

Friends,

The Government of India has taken numerous measures to boost science, research and innovation. Science is at the core of our efforts towards socio-economic change. We broke inertia in the system. The long break in vaccine  introduction was broken. In 2014, four new vaccines were introduced into our immunisation programme. This included an indigenously developed Rota-virus vaccine. We encourage indigenous vaccine production. Recently, we also gave market authorisation for an indigenously developed Pneumococcal vaccine. These vaccination programmes and our POSHAN mission take the health and nutrition of our children to the level of importance it deserves. Our vaccine developers are active and globally competitive during this pandemic. We understand that time is of the essence.

We have launched an ambitious  mission to remove TB in India by 2025. This is five years before the global target.

Friends,

There are other on-going efforts as well. We have launched major missions on supercomputing and on cyber-physical systems. These have expanded on fundamental research and application in areas such as: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Sensors and Big Data Analytics. This will provide a great boost to Indian manufacturing. It will help create skilled young human resource. The start-up sector will prosper. 25 Technology Innovation Hubs have already been launched under the mission.

Friends,

We want top class scientific research to help our farmers. Our agricultural research scientists have worked hard to ramp  up our production of pulses. Today we import only a very small fraction of our pulses. Our food-grain production has hit a record high.

Friends,

Recently, India got a National Education Policy. After over three decades, India has such a policy. The making of this policy involved wide-spread consultations for several months. This National Education Policy, राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति, aims to boost  curiosity  towards sciences. It gives much needed boost to research and innovation. I am particularly optimistic  about the focus on multidisciplinary  studies. The open and broad based academic environment will nurture young talent.

Today, India is also a major contributor and partner in various scientific research and development efforts at the global level. Some of these are: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), approved in February 2016; European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), where India has been an associate member since January 2017; and, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (I-TER). For this supporting research is being carried out in my home state Gujarat at the Institute of Plasma Research.

Friends,

The need of the hour is to ensure more youngsters develop an interest in science. For that, we must get well-versed with: the science of history and the history of science. Over the last century, leading historical questions have been solved with the help of science. Scientific methods are now used in determining dates and helping in research.

We also need to amplify the rich history of Indian science. Sadly, for long, many youngsters have been fed the lie  that everything before modernity was superstition and dark ages. Today is the age of computers, programming, mobiles and applications. But even there, what is at the base of all computing? It is binary code 1 and 0.

Friends,

When one speaks of zero, how can one not speak of India? Zero made much of mathematics, and commerce, accessible to all. Our youth must know about: Baudhayana, Bhaskara, Varahmihira, Nagarjuna, Sushruta and many others, like Satyendra Nath Bose and Sir CV Raman in the modern era. The list is long!

Friends,

Inspired by our glorious past and powered by our achievements in the present, we are looking ahead with great hope. We are aiming to build a secure and prosperous future for the coming generations. India’s clarion call of an Aatmnirbhar Bharat, a self-reliant  India, includes a vision of global welfare. In order to realize this dream, I invite you all and seek your support. Just recently India introduced pioneering space reforms. These reforms provide opportunities for both industry and academia. You are all aware of India’s vibrant start-up ecosystem. These advances would never be complete without the groundwork done by scientists, innovators and academics. Our start-up sector would gain from your mentorship.

Friends,

The Indian diaspora are excellent ambassadors of India at the world stage. Wherever they have gone, they have taken with them the ethos of India. They have also embraced the cultures of their new homes. The Indian diaspora has been successful in many fields. Academics is one shining example. Most of the top global universities, and many of the top technological corporations in the world, have benefited greatly from the presence of Indian talent.

Through VAIBHAV, we present to you a great opportunity. An opportunity to connect and contribute. Your efforts will help India and the world. After all, when India prospers, the world also takes a leap ahead. These exchanges will certainly be useful. Your efforts will help create an ideal research ecosystem. It will merge tradition with modernity. It will make India provide home-grown solutions to the challenges we face. It will create prosperity for others. It will help India create disruptive  technologies.

Friends,

We are meeting on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. I am reminded of something that Gandhi Ji had said almost 100 years ago, in 1925, while speaking at the Maharaja College, Thiruvananthapuram. He wanted the fruits  of scientific progress to reach rural India, where most of our people live . Bapu also believed in broad-basing science. In 1929, he tried something unique. He tried crowd-sourcing . He sought  ways to design a light-weight  spinning wheel. His care for the villages, the youth, the poor, and his vision to integrate the larger public with science, inspire us. Today, we remember another proud son of India on his Jayanti. Our former PM Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Ji. We remember his humility, simplicity and great leadership.

Friends,

I wish you all the best for your discussions, and assure  you that we will work to make VAIBHAV, and its outcomes, a grand success. Before ending, I advise all of you to take full care of your health, to take all precautions, and to remain safe.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

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