India emerging as leader in every field of science, particularly after Modi took over: Jitendra

New Delhi, Sep 1 (PTI) Asserting that India is emerging as a leader in every stream of science since 2014, Union minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the country was still “singing nursery rhymes” when Americans and Soviets were about to land on the Moon but now pictures procured by Mangalyaan were being sought by the NASA.

He also said there is too much dependence on literate and qualified scientists, though innovations can come from the unqualified as well, and asserted that a responsible government is the one that creates conditions for the youth to earn their livelihood as no one can give salaried government jobs to each and every one.

Addressing an event organised by the Technology Development Board (TDB), a body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Singh said science and technology are the key to India becoming self-reliant.

“India is emerging as a leader in virtually every stream of science, and particularly since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over. We had the human resource but there was a gap in political will and prioritisation and that was filled up after 2014,” Singh said.

There is no dearth of human resources but the challenge is how to channelise it and reach out to it.

“Luckily, we have a prime minister who is very supportive, who gives us the liberty to try out new out of the box experiments as long as we can reason out with him,” he said.

India also has the capacity to evolve new paradigms, he noted.

The ultimate yardstick would be how many Indian innovations, depending upon Indian conditions, have been supported by the TDB or the S&T Ministry and how much has it reached out to potential start ups, he said.

He said it can be claimed that India has actually emerged on the top by the time it crossed 75 years of Independence, especially in the area of space technology.

“Our pictures procured by Mangalyaan are now being sought by NASA. This is something very miraculous and Chandrayaan, which was our mission, went and reported back the presence of water.

“We started our space journey when the then Soviet Union and the US were on the verge of landing on the Moon and we were still singing nursery rhymes,” he said.

Singh said many new reforms have been initiated in the space sector.

He said there are dharnas saying jobs were not given as promised in the election. No government can give government salaried jobs to each and every youth, but a responsible government is the one which creates conditions for the youth to be able to earn their livelihood, he said.

There is too much dependence on the literate and qualified scientists, while the innovations come from the unqualified, he observed.

The focus will have to be to reach out to discover start-ups which may not be technologically savvy but which can be channelised and make them realise where their potential can come into play, he said.

Principal Scientific Advisor K VijayRaghavan said the world is changing in two or three very important different ways.

First of all, the challenges due to consequences of climate change, both adaptation and mitigation require new kinds of technologies to be put in place. These are very urgent and need to be done and can be broadly classified as disaster resilient infrastructure of various kinds and these are against natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, pandemics, he stressed.

This is a major thrust that is needed in technology development in scaling up. The third area comes from the major missions that the government has taken up, VijayRaghavan said, these include the Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide piped water connections to rural households by 2024.