The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu called upon the scientific community to find long-term solutions to the problems faced by farmers and improve crop productivity and farmers’ income.
He also wanted scientists to explore ways to make crops climate-resilient, nutrition-efficient and less water consuming.
Delivering the Valedictory Speech at the 107th Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru, the Vice President said that global warming and climate change were affecting the weather patterns in an unpredictable manner and causing massive devastation at times. He sought to know from the scientists whether the problems faced by farmers due to nature’s fury could be mitigated.
Calling for concerted efforts, Shri Naidu emphasized upon the critical role of technology in enhancing both the quality and quantity across the agriculture value chain from the use of inputs at the pre-production stage to post-production and marketing to improve the income of farmers.
The Vice President, while noting how technology was making our lives more comfortable, said that at the same time new challenges were arising. He said science must find solutions to problems like increasing urbanization, pollution, urban-rural divide, growing antibacterial resistance, genetic & non-communicable diseases and water scarcity, among others.
Shri Naidu mentioned that scientific research should also focus on making advanced machinery for a variety of agricultural activities from spraying to post-harvest handling of produce. Thus, the adoption of modern technology can greatly help to realise our vision of doubling the income of farmers in the coming years.
Urging schools to lay the foundation for the spread of a strong scientific culture in the country, he stressed that such a foundation would become the basis for creating an ecosystem for creativity and innovation to thrive.
“The need of the hour is to foster the spirit of inquisitiveness, curiosity and scientific temper right from the primary school level”, he said.
Observing that there was a crying need for our universities and scientific institutions to promote R & D on a big scale, the Vice President called for expanding the academia-industry linkage to promote research and innovation in a big way. Technological innovation was a key driver in boosting economy, improving people’s lives and enabling better delivery of services he added.
“India like no other country has a huge demographic dividend and can emerge as the innovation and knowledge, if our universities and scientific institutions invest more on R & D and significantly the raise the standards of research”, Shri Naidu stressed.
The Vice President also urged the corporate India to develop a symbiotic partnership with the universities and to identify and fund a dozen futuristic projects.
Opining that India was surging forward with renewed vigour and enthusiasm, the Vice President said that it must leverage the demographic opportunity with science and technology playing a leading role in driving the economic and social development in order to make the country a $ 5 trillion economy.
Shri Naidu lauded the government initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India and Start-Up India that promote indigenous manufacturing, empower people digitally and wealth-creation through innovation.
He requested senior scientists to mentor and hand-hold the young ones to benefit from such schemes and realize their scientific and entrepreneurial potential.
Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri B.S. Yediyurappa said that the discussions at the 107th Indian Science Congress showed a new direction to the country in science and technology.
General President of Indian Sciences Congress, K.S. Rangappa, and the, Vice-Chancellor, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, Dr. S. Rajendra Prasad were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.