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Science Congress to open in Kolkata (Preview)

by fwire  Jan 2, 2013 23:17 IST

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Kolkata, Jan 2 (IANS) The country's science and technology policy will be unveiled at the centenary session of the Indian Science Congress beginning here Thursday, a meet in which six Nobel laureates and 60 scientists from 20 nations will be among the 15,000 participants.

President Pranab Mukherje will formally inaugurate the five-day event in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Salt Lake stadium.

The prime minister will be unveiling the country's science and technology policy in the event. The activity report of the Indian Science Congress will also be presented.

At the inaugural function, the West Bengal chief minister will release a special publication "The Balancing Act: Stories of Women in Science".

Union Minister for Science and Technology S. Jaipal Reddy, Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will also be present.

"It is likely to be a momentous event. Its significance lies not only because the Science Congress is being held for 100 years, but because the centenary event itself is a great thing," Narayanan told reporters here.

The idea of the Indian Science Congress was conceived by eminent educationist and former vice-chancellor of Calcutta University Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee and its maiden session was held at the city's Asiatic Society in January 1914. Since then, it is hosted every year in some part of India.

Themed "Science for shaping the future of India", the centenary session has many firsts to its credit. It is the first time that a serving prime minister is the general president of the Indian Science Congress Association.

Another first is that both the president and the prime minister will be on the same dais at the inauguration.

Last but not the least, it will be the maiden occasion when the country's prime minister will chair the theme panel discussion.

Principal Scientific Adviser to the Indian government R. Chidambaram, chief scientific adviser to the UK government and noted applied population biologist John Beddington and agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan will also be among the panellists. Union Science and Technology Secretary T. Ramasami will be the convenor of the theme panel.

The focal theme of the session would be the manner in which the new Science, Technology and Innovation policy 2013 could be implemented.

The session would aim to provide a road map for integrating science into India's development process and serve as a platform for creating coalition among all stake holders of science and society to pave a new path of progress for the country in the emerging global knowledge economy, the organisers said.

"As a mark of respect, all technical and plenary sessions will be named after people who have contributed to India's scientific development," said Narayanan. Among them are Maghnad Saha, Homi J. Bhaba and Satyendra Nath Bose.

The number or papers and abstracts received are over 8,000, he said.

Sibal will release a special stamp on the occasion, while certain special awards to outstanding scientists will be announced. Reddy will inaugurate the "Pride of India" exhibition.

On Friday, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the Children's Science Congress, while the Women's Science Congress will be opened by Reddy.

Special sessions of the Women's Science Congress will be held Jan 5-6. As many as 20 noted women scientists will participate and mentor the sessions.

There will be a series of panel discussions, technical sessions and endowment lectures, including one on Ashutosh Mukherjee by Swaminathan.