New Delhi: Lamenting that India has not been able to make a impact on the world scale in the field of science, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday asked scientists to dream big and not to despair.
Addressing the 70th foundation day of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Singh said conventional scientific disciplines and approaches were proving unequal to dealing with complex developmental challenges.
“We have not been able to make an impact on a world scale commensurate with our large scientific manpower pool,” Singh said addressing scientists.
In his address, which was webcast across all 37 CSIR laboratories, the Prime Minister lauded the achievements of the Council over its 70 years of existence but asked them not to rest on the laurels.
“However, with all our achievements, we cannot rest on our laurels. As a nation, we have not succeeded in mobilising enough private investment into science to raise our investment in scientific research to 2% of GDP,” Singh said.
He said scientists need to recognise that excellence has not percolated across all the research and academic institutions.
Singh said CSIR needed to devote itself to these national challenges in the years to come and will have to take up national leadership in science, engineering and technology.
“Young scientists must dream big and refuse to despair,” the Prime Minister said.
Singh said he was glad that CSIR has proven its professional worth in every phase of India’s growth, in line with prevailing national policies and national priorities.
“In the early days of Independence, it was a champion of import substitution, rebuilding our industrial base in the face of shortages and resource crunch,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted that when India became a victim of technology denial, CSIR laboratories created advanced products and technologies, such as India’s first super computer, radiation shielding glasses and components for aerospace and satellites, emerging as a credible partner for the strategic sector.
The Council also catapulted India as the top generic drug producer, he recalled.
“After India embraced globalisation, introduced economic reforms and joined the WTO, the CSIR quickly emerged as the flag bearer of the Intellectual Property movement in our country and became the single largest holder of US and European patents,” he said.
Singh complimented CSIR on its unique attempt to make healthcare affordable by exploiting the power of open source drug discovery.
“As a concept, this is a global first and the world has turned from scepticism to partnership,” he said, adding that he was happy to learn that the Council has opened its patent chest for accelerated drug discovery for hitherto neglected diseases like tuberculosis and malaria.