President Ram Nath Kovind on 6 September pointed to the low participation of women in higher sciences and said that their scientific potential was not being harnessed properly.
"Of the 3,446 scientists working at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, only 632 or 18.3 percent are women. In a week when women scientists have won Nobel Prizes for physics and for chemistry, this is a telling figure.
"It is a reminder of the scientific potential of our daughters that we are not adequately harnessing. This is both a social and systemic challenge — but it is our collective responsibility to overcome it," he said.
The President was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the 4th India International Science Festival here.
He said science has always been a part of Indian culture.
"Centuries ago, our ancestors were uncovering the secrets of mathematics and the concept of zero. They were applying the lessons of science in fields as far apart as medicine and metallurgy," he said.
"From the Green Revolution to our space programme to the creation of a thriving biotech and pharmaceutical industry, science has driven our post-1947 modernisation," he added.
He stressed that in the first quarter of the 21st century, in the age of robotics and precision manufacturing, of bioinformatics and gene editing, of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Artificial Intelligence, "it is time for a quantum jump".
"We cannot make that jump without converting science into a mass movement and without promoting tinkering and innovation as an everyday activity in our labs, our universities and even our schools," he said, adding: "Jugaad, cut-paste experiments and frugal innovation have their role."