Delivering the inaugural address of the 103rd Indian Science Congress (103ISC) at the University of Mysore's decked up amphitheatre here on the theme ‘S&T for Indigenous Development in India,' the PM said the impact of science will be the most when scientists and technologists will keep the principles 5-Es in mind.
"First comes, economy, when we find cost effective and efficient solutions. Next environment, when our carbon footprint is the lightest and the impact on the ecology is the least possible. Then energy - when our prosperity relies less on energy; and the energy we use keeps our skies blue and our earth green. Empathy comes next, when our efforts are in tune with our culture, circumstances and social challenges and finally equity when science advances inclusive development and improves the welfare of the weakest," the PM announced to thunderous applause.
Saying that it was time of a new awakening in India, the PM said we should not aim for just an independent India alone, but an India that could stand independently on the strength of its human resources, scientific capabilities and industrial development.
He said the country is turning once again turning to scientists and innovators to realise goals of human welfare and economic development.
"The world has progressed because of human instinct to enquire and explore for knowledge but also to address human challenges.
Special mention about the Missile Man
At a time when the NDA government received so much of flak from various corners on the delay in constructing a memorial for former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the PM paid rich tributes to the contributions of the Missile Man.
"No one reflected this spirit more than late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. His was a life of outstanding scientific achievements; and, his was a heart of boundless compassion and concern for humanity. For him, the highest purpose of science was the transformation of the life of the weak, the under-privileged and the youth. And, his life's mission was a self-reliant and a self-assured India that was strong and cared for its people. Your theme for this Congress is a fitting tribute to his vision," the PM said, with the crowd once again acknowledging in unison.
Saying that for him good governance is not just about policy and decision making, transparency and accountability, Modi said he is keen in integrating science and technology into the choices India makes.
He said the government will try to increase the level of resources for science, and deploy them in accordance with our strategic priorities.
"We will make it easier to do science and research in India, improve science administration, and expand the supply and improve the quality of science education and research in India. At the same time, innovation must not be just the goal of our science. Innovation must also drive the scientific process. Frugal innovation and crowd sourcing are examples of efficient and effective scientific enterprise," the PM added.
Calling cities as the major engines of economic growth, employment opportunities and prosperity, the PM said cities account for more than two-thirds of global energy demand and result in up to 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emission.
"That is why I have placed so much emphasis on smart cities. It is not just about cities that are networked to become more efficient, safe and better in delivery of services. It is also a vision of sustainable cities that are both locomotives of our economies and havens of healthy living. We will need sound policies to achieve our goals, but we will rely on science and technology to provide creative solutions," he said.
Oceans and rivers play key role
The PM said the sustainable future for this planet will depend not only on what we do on land, but also on how we treat our oceans.
"Oceans occupy more than 70 per cent of our planet; and, over 40 per cent of humanity and 60 per cent of the world's largest cities are found within 100 kilometers of the coast. We are at the cusp of a new era, where oceans will become important drivers of our economies. Their sustainable use can bring prosperity; and, give us clean energy, new medicines and food security beyond just fisheries. That is why I refer to the Small Island States as Large Ocean States," Modi said.
He said rivers have played as important a role in human history as oceans.
"Revival of rivers is an essential part of my commitment for a cleaner and healthier future for our society, economic opportunities for our people, and renewal of our heritage. We need regulations, policy, investments and management to achieve our objective. But, we will succeed only when we integrate technology, engineering and innovation into our efforts, not just to clean our rivers now but to keep them healthy in the future as well," the PM said.
He said river is the soul of nature and their renewal must be an element of a larger effort to sustain nature.
Was the PM Modi unwell?
Just before he was invited for the speech, the PM was seen quietly popping a tablet with the help of an aide.
During the speech he had to take small breaks to sip water, clearly a sign that probably he was unwell.
Interestingly, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was caught napping again on the stage, while the PM was spelling out the S&T mantra.