99th Indian Science Congress to focus on women, missiles
The 99th Indian Science Congress (ISC), the country's largest such
event, will be held in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar Jan 3-7 on the
theme "Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation - Role of
Women". In line with »
that India's position in the world of science was being overtaken
by countries like China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday
announced that spending on research and development (R&D) would
more than double by the end of the Twelfth Plan.
Inaugurating the 99th Indian Science Congress (ISC) here, Manmohan
Singh said: "Over the past few decades, India's relative position
in the world of science had been declining and we have been
overtaken by countries like China."
"Things are changing, but we cannot be satisfied with what has
been achieved. We need to do much more to change the face of
Indian science. We must strengthen the supply chain of the science
sector. While it is true that science and engineering continue to
attract the best students, many of them later opt for other
careers because of poor prospects in science," he said.
More than 15,000 delegates, including scientists and students, are
participating in the Jan 3-7 event being held at the Kalinga
Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT University). The theme of
the conference is "Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation
- Role of Women".
The prime minister also emphasised the need for increasing
spending in the science sector.
"As far as resources are concerned, the fraction of GDP spent on
research and development in India has been too low and stagnant.
We must aim to increase the total R&D spending as a percentage of
GDP to 2 percent by the end of the 12th Plan Period from the
current level of about 0.9 percent," he said.
He said this can only be achieved if industry, which contributes
only 25 percent of the total R&D expenditure today, increases its
"I believe public sector undertakings, especially in the energy
sector, should play a major role in this expansion. We have to
increase public-private partnerships and catalyse significantly
increased interaction between publicly-owned S&T (science and
technology) institutions and industry," he said.
According to Manmohan Singh, it was in some ways ironic that
foreign companies like GE and Motorola had created world class
technology hubs in India, while our own industry has not done so,
except perhaps in the pharma sector. "We need to look at ways of
incentivising private R&D investment under Indian conditions."
He also underlined the need for transparency in selection
procedures at institutions and also the importance of gender
In line with this, the ISC is being led by Geetha Bali, vice
chancellor Karnataka State Women's University, Bijapur.
She is the fourth woman in the history of ISC to head the
Congress. The last time was in 1999 when the meet was held in
Chennai with distinguished biologist Manju Sharma presiding.
For the first time a Women's Science Congress is being held
parallel to ISC and it will be inaugurated by Indian ambassador to
the US Nirupama Rao Thursday. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit
will also take part in the event.
The five-day event will see technical sessions, plenary sessions,
vision talks, panel discussions, public lectures, a 'Pride of
India' expo and other programmes.
Like the previous editions of the event, there will also be a
Children's Science Congress, where school children from different
parts of India would display models and charts prepared by them.
The children's event will be inaugurated Wednesday by former
president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
The ISC inauguration Tuesday was also attended by Science and
Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister of State Ashwani
Kumar and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.