New Delhi, Dec.13 (ANI): Emphasizing that knowledge and innovation as never before are the keys to competitiveness and wealth creation in the fast evolving global economy, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday said educating and empowering the country's children has to be and will always be a national priority.
Launching "Inspire", a a scholarship programme of the Department of Science and Technology here, Dr. Singh said every child had to be given a chance of "a life of hope, a life of purpose, a life of opportunity and a life of intellectual fulfillment".
"The opportunities and challenges in the global knowledge economy are boundless. Our government has invested a lot in building a strong and vibrant science and technology system. I seek the cooperation and active support of all of you in making it happen. The future is here," said the Prime Minister.
"I am extremely pleased to be here in your midst to launch the "Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research" or the INSPIRE scheme of the Department of Science and Technology. I had announced this programme at the last Indian Science Congress. I compliment the Minister of Science and Technology Shri Kapil Sibal and his colleagues in the Ministry for bringing this innovative and landmark programme to fruition," he said.
Dr.Singh said that his government recognized the great importance of this initiative, and in that context, has made an allocation of Rs. 2100 crores for it in the Eleventh Plan period.
"These allocations are in keeping with our Government's commitment to provide strong policy and financial support to the growth of the S and T sector in our country," he said, adding that it was lamentable that the talented youth of the country are gravitating to other disciplines than science.
"Science is no longer necessarily the career of choice of the meritorious students. This trend has long-term implications for our development and for our competitive strength in the evolving global economy," he warned.
"The key to national prosperity, apart from the spirit of the people, lies, in the modern age, in the effective combination of three factors, technology, raw materials and capital, of which the first is perhaps the most important, since the creation and adoption of news scientific techniques can, in fact, make up for a deficiency in natural resources, and reduce the demands on capital. But technology can only grow out of the study of science and its applications..."
The INSPIRE programme is an important initiative of our Government that aims to strengthen the roots of the knowledge infrastructure of our economy. It is significant because it targets the entire learning pyramid from young learners to researchers. The scale of the programme is unprecedented and it proposes to cover one million young learners, he said.
"Not only do we want to feed our knowledge economy with a steady stream of bright young minds, but we also want to nculcate a scientific temper and a spirit of inquiry and creativity in our youth," he added.
"Our Government is committed to doing all that is necessary to rejuvenate research in the university sector," he said, adding that the Ministry of Science and Technology has proposed a special scheme named Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE).
He said that India has trebled its investments into the S and T sector during the Eleventh Plan in comparison to the Tenth Plan, and therefore, these investments would require matching efforts to increase our absorption capacity within the S and T system. We have made very significant investments in upgrading our education infrastructure to cope with this projected demand. But clearly much more needs to be done and will be done. The private sector has also to play its due role. An integrated and efficient knowledge chain should build strong synergies between our industrial and research establishments both in the public and the private sector," Dr. Singh said. (ANI)