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Encourage innovative R&D projects in 'big way': VP to industry, corporate sectors

Encourage innovative R&D projects in 'big way': VP to industry, corporate sectors

New Delhi, Nov 21 (PTI) Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Wednesday appealed to industry and corporate sectors to promote scientific efforts in the country in a "big way" by creating an exclusive corpus, and encouraging innovative research and development projects and technologies to address problems faced by people. Addressing a gathering at the NASI Scopus Young Scientist Awards 2018 at the Vigyan Bhawan here, he also emphasised that Indian science fraternity should play a "pivotal role" in making India a top nation in the world in the field of science and technology. "India was once known as 'vishwa guru' and we have a rich heritage of knowledge and ancient scholastic systems. Unfortunately, during the colonial era, we lost our conscience and our focus... After Independence, from first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to the current prime minister, all are giving importance to science, and it needs to be given further importance," Naidu said. The vice president reiterated that India was the youngest nation in the world with over 65 per cent of its population below 35 years, and that it was the "most opportune time" for the country to leverage the skills and talent of the young minds. "At a time when the world has become a global village and boundaries of different disciplines are blurring, the role of science and technology becomes far more important than ever before," Naidu said. Alluding to "disruptive technologies" an Industry 4.0, he also urged the industries and the corporate sectors to pitch in a big way to promote scientific research. "We have just entered the era of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), and machine learning, robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, big data will change the way we are going to live. These areas need to be fully exploited," he said. "I would also appeal to the corporate bodies and industries to promote scientific research in the country in a big way by creating an exclusive corpus, by encouraging innovative R&D projects and technologies that would provide a long-lasting answers to problems faced by the people," Naidu said. He also pitched for "enhancing" investment in science and technology to support innovation, which would address issues related to agriculture, environment, health, housing, clean drinking water and security, besides other issues. He also extolled the contributions of Indian scholars and mathematicians in ancient time, from invention of the numeral 'zero' to decimal system and ancient treatise 'Sushruta Samhita' and 'Charaka Samhita' on ancient surgery and medicine system."The urban settlements of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were so advanced, and even had drainage system, and now we are struggling with drainage system. So, we should pick up from our ancient knowledge," he said. India also gave Yoga and Ayurveda, Naidu said, while reiterating that "Yoga has nothing to do with religion, and only some people, unnecessarily try to give it a religious colour, making it look controversial". "Even after Independence, 20 per cent of the people are still below poverty line 20-21 per cent are still illiterate, and many still face gender discrimination and social discrimination. Unless growth is not inclusive, it is not real development. And, science and technology must play a role in improving the quality of life of people," he said. The Scopus Young Scientist Awards, first launched by Amsterdam-based global publisher Elsevier in 2006, is part of an Elsevier's global initiative to support early career researchers in their quest to advance the frontiers of science across a broad range of disciplines. In 2009, India officially adopted the program within its scientific community through Elsevier's collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI). This year NASI Scopus Awards has introduced five multi-disciplinary categories that are aligned with national missions of Make in India, Digital India, Healthy India and Clean India. The categories are -- agriculture, plant sciences and rural development; women in science; environmentally sound sustainable development; biomedical research and healthcare; and innovation in engineering and physical sciences. The prize include a citation, a trophy and Rs 75,000. The five winners were selected from a pool of about 800 candidates, organisers said. PTI KND RCJ