MUMBAI: Ease of doing research is as important as ease of doing business, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said as he reached out to the scientific community promising to cut red tape and sought their cooperation in "transforming" the country.
"As the major source of science and technology, ... government must do its part. When I speak of ease of doing business in India, I also want to pay equal attention to the ease of doing research and development in India," Modi said inaugurating the Indian Science Congress here.
"We want our scientists and researchers to explore the mysteries of science not of government procedures," the Prime Minister said, in an apparent reference to the complaints often raised by the scientific community in the country including delays in funding for research and approval process for attending global conferences.
"You will have no better supporter than me. In turn, I seek your help in transforming India," Modi said as he told the scientific community that their achievements should be celebrated "as much as we rejoice in our success in other areas".
"We need to put science, technology and innovation at the top of national priorities.... Above all, we must restore the pride and prestige of science and scientists in our nation," the Prime Minister said.
Modi asked the scientists to incorporate traditional local knowledge to develop more appropriate, effective, sustainable and affordable technologies that contribute immensely to development and progress.
He said the arms of science, technology and innovation must reach the poorest, the remotest and the most vulnerable person.
'Digital Connectivity Should Become a Basic Right'
The Prime Minister also said that digital connectivity should become as much a basic right as access to school.
He that a discussion on science and human development cannot be divorced from the questions of political decisions, social choices and of equity, ethics and access.
The Prime Minister said funding proposals must not take too long to clear, and scientific departments must have flexibility of funding decisions based on uncertainties inherent in research activities.
Modi said that for a prosperous future, science, technology and innovation have to be at the top of national priorities.
The Prime Minister said more resilient agriculture, appropriate and affordable technologies for rural areas, improving healthcare, making clean technology affordable, and making India a leading manufacturing nation and a hub for knowledge and technology-intensive industries, were some of the key objectives before Indian scientists.
He said human development has been the larger purpose and the driving force of India's scientific pursuits, and science has helped shape modern India.
The Prime Minister appreciated Indian scientists for rising to the occasion "whenever the world shut its door on us".
He said that when the world sought our collaboration, they reached out with the openness that is inherent in our society.
He also lauded Indian scientists for saving thousands of lives through their accurate prediction of Cyclone Hudhud.
He welcomed the initiatives of Department of Science and Technology for involving thousands of children and youth in science and technology.
Modi said India must "restore the pride and prestige of science and scientists in our nation; revive the romance for science in society; rekindle the love for it in our children and encourage our scientists - to dream, imagine and explore."
The PM began his address by paying homage to eminent scientist Vasant Gowarikar, who passed away in Pune on Friday.