Imphal: Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday highlighted how science technology and innovation (STI) would impact our future in education, skills and functioning in the post-pandemic world.
He was addressing the National Science Day (NSD) function through video-conferencing from here in Manipur.
Awards to science communicators and women scientists were also conferred by the Science & Technology Minister on the occasion of National Science Day which is celebrated to commemorate the discovery of the Raman Effect on this day every year.
The NSD celebrations were organized by the National Council for Science Technology Communication (NCSTC).
Dr Vardhan said, “The 30 per cent increase in the budget of Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences put together for the year 2021-22 would provide stimulus to S&T infrastructure resources in the country”. The Union Minister said that in view of last year’s challenges thrown by the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme of the National Science Day 2021, ‘Future of STI: Impacts on Education, Skills, and Work,’ becomes all the more important.
“World has witnessed how Indian S&T systems rose to this recent unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic. Scientific awareness and health preparedness shall become even more important in post-COVID 19 times. A comprehensive National programme has already been launched on health and risk communication with a focus on COVID-19, namely, Year of Awareness on Science & Health (YASH). We have brought out an online interactive multimedia bilingual resource for mass awareness on COVID- 19, COVID Katha,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan disclosed.
“The data portals launched today will be game-changers. We feel that scientists with a legacy from India should be on one platform and contribute to India’s growth story”, the Minister explained.
He further said that the Prime Minister has been talking about Scientific Social Responsibility for which the Fundamental and Translational Research have to be people-centric. “So on this National Science Day, let each scientist dream of something new to make a perceptible difference to the life of people in India”, Dr Vardhan urged.
He also underlined the importance of sustained efforts of inculcating, nurturing, and unleashing
the scientific temper and innovative mindset of the projected population of 1.5 billion (+) people in 2050 for sustainable and inclusive growth.
Dr. Vardhan presented the National S&T Communication Awards, Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) awards, and SERB Women Excellence Awards and conferred Rajendra Prabhu Memorial Appreciation Shield for outstanding work in science media and journalism.
The Minister also released the first-ever National S&T Databases on S&T Awards in India and Indian origin Academicians abroad. The database on S&T Awards in India is an excellent source of information about S&T awards presented to R&D professionals in India. The database of Indian Origin Academicians is a unique database developed in the country and has a huge information base of about 23,472 Indian academicians and research scholars working in various countries.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also conferred an appreciation shield to National S&T database developers.
Speaking on the efforts of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in driving STI as a tool for the growth and development of the country, Secretary DST Prof. Ashutosh Sharma said that science and technology has a critical role in creating ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, which is ready for the future.
“Future of STI is going to impact us in every aspect of life. Recalling our glorious past will show us the light to take us to the future. There are huge challenges, like sustainable development, climate change, clean energy, the rise of intelligent machines, and so on. The future is multi-disciplinary, and in order to solve problems, one has to approach them in an interdisciplinary manner. The job of scientists is to help reach science to every corner of the country”, he pointed out.
Dr Shekhar C Mande, Secretary, DSIR and DG, CSIR, highlighted the contributions of the Indian scientific community during the COVID-19 pandemic.