Rao, who received the highest civilian honour along with former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar from President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan, feels that other Indian scientists should also get the Bharat Ratna which would act as a boost for the young researchers.
"Well, this is fantastic, my own country has given me this award. This is a big thing. I have been a professor of science for 55 years and I have got so many awards in the past, but this is the best. I will cherish this award the most in my life," Rao said.
Rao, 79, is the fourth scientist after C.V. Raman, M. Visvesvaraya and former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to get the Bharat Ratna.
Asked if Indian scientists have got their due, Rao said: "Only two working scientists, me and Dr. Kalam, have got the award. I feel other scientists should also get the award. But I am happy that this year 14 people from the field of science have been selected for the Padma Awards. This is good for the country."
Rao: I feel other scientists should also get the award
When pointed out that no Indian scientist has got the Nobel prize in the recent past, Rao said India has achieved a lot of success without the Nobel recognition. Nobel laureate C.V. Raman (physics) is the only Indian to get the coveted Nobel prize while Hargobind Khurana (medicine), Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (physics) and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (chemistry) were all India-born American citizens.
"There are so many eminent people who have not got the Nobel prize. But what we have to see is that whether we are competitive in the field of science. We are doing good, but others like China and South Korea are doing better. We are also investing a lot of money in the areas of scientific research but lot more needs to be done," he said.
Rao also revealed his future plans and said said he is still striving for excellence.
"Personal success has no end like excellence has no limit. As long as God gives me the strength, I will keep working. I am working on two-three new things in the last few years and hopefully they will benefit India," said Rao.