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How PM Narendra Modi wants science to fuel development

  • Two weeks ago, in a break with tradition, Prime Minister met the 30 top scientists in the country and discussed with them the problems and possibilities in their area of expertise.
  • Indian prime ministers usually meet only a scientific advisory group, and the discussions are mainly restricted to broad areas of policy.
  • PM’s meeting was also surprising given that as PM, his engagement with the scientific community has been minimal. He is yet to constitute the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (SAC-PM).
  • But during the interaction, Modi was all ears, asking scientists how they could help solve the country’s problems.
  • Modi had specific concerns and questions to the scientists.
    • How can science be used to clean up the Ganga?
    • Can mathematics help solve the call drop problem?
    • Why can’t we develop a TB vaccine?
    • Can fodder be made more nutritious?
    • Can the monsoon prediction be improved?
    • How do differences in eating habits affect nutrition?
    • His interests were tuned more towards the problems of rural India.
  • Despite the limited contact with scientists, Modi had taken an interest in space technology almost immediately after he took over as PM.
  • In the last two months, the government has started appointing heads of institutions. Appointment of the director of the Tata Institute of Research (TIFR) was approved.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) head was appointed, and so was the director-general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) is about to get a new head. Despite talk of political pressures in their appointment, the scientific community is unanimous that the right person was ultimately chosen for these jobs.

Source: ET

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