New Delhi/Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the 102nd Science Congress in Mumbai attended by nearly 60,000 delegates including Nobel Laureates, Fields medalist, and Rolf Nevanlinna Pri-e winners.

“We must revive the romance of science in society and rekindle the love for it. In this endeavour, you will have no greater supporter than me," said Modi in his inaugural address in Mumbai University. “Science is a product of the human brain, but it is driven by the human heart," he added.

Emphasizing need of science and technology to reach to poorest and most vulnerable person Modi said, “When we speak of science & human development, we cannot divorce it from questions of political decisions, social choices, equity, ethics & access."

Calling science a tool which can built the bridges between the nations Modi said, “Science & technology can also remove national barriers, unify the world and advance peace."

Modi then gave the example of China, a country which has used science and technology to advance its development.

“Science and technology is an invaluable ally for development and governance and a nation’s progress and human development are linked with science and technology. China’s rise as the world’s second largest economy runs parallel to becoming the second biggest country in science and technology," Modi said.

Modi lauded the achievements by scientists in the country including the successful insertion of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) Mars Orbiter in the Martian Orbit and the advance accurate warnings for cyclone Hudhud which saved many lives. Speaking on better governance, the prime minister urged various ministries to collaborate with each other in order to use science for better governance.

Appealing private sector to invest in development of science and technology in the country Modi said, “Our investments in science & technology are far too concentrated in the agencies of Central Government & must become more broad-based."

He further said, “Our future will be secure & global leadership possible, if we also prepare next gen of world class scientists, technologists & innovators."

Modi highlighted the importance of communicating possibility of science to children and said that “digital connectivity should become as much a basic right as access to school."

“Let us make science and technology the theme of Republic Day in the near future. We need to put science, technology and innovation at the top of the nation’s priorities," Modi concluded.

The prime minister facilitated the Nobel laureates and winners of other prestigious awards including Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunis and 2014 Fields Medalist Manjul Bhargava.

The inaugural session was also attended by Union science minister Harsh Vardhan and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Speaking earlier Fadnavis appealed scientific community to come with technologies which will sustain our agriculture in these times of climate change and said, “Maharashtra in last five years spent Rs8,000 crore in providing relief and aid to farmers who suffered crop loss because of hail storm, unseasonal rains, droughts and such other natural calamities."

Another important takeaway from today’s inaugural session was all the speakers including S.B. Nimse president of 102 Indian National Science Congress, spoke about rich tradition of science and technology in India since ancient times.

While Nimse drawn attention to how Kerala school of Mathematics developed calculus even before Isaac Newton, Harshvardhan claimed, Indians knew Pythagoras theorem, much before Phthogarous came up with Idea, similarly how credit of inventing Algebra should go to Indians who knew it as a beejganit before the Arabs.

Harshvardhan warned, “ The prices of oil have dropped from peak of $115 per barrel to $60 per barrel and this may result in reducing our vigor and efforts in finding alternative and cleaner fuel sources but we must not let it happen."

Similarly Fadnavis recalled contribution made by Indian scientists such as Kanad, Shalya, Charvak and Aryabhatta to world of Science. Modi also fondly recalled India’s contribution to mathematics, medicine, metallurgy, mining and textile technologies.

High-profile sessions in the Science Congress include sessions on space sciences by Isro scientists, advances in cancer biology, mathematics and computing, Genetically Modified Crops, mega astronomy projects and many lectures by Nobel Laureates.

However Mumbai Mirror on 31 December, reported group of scientists led by Ram Prasad Gandhiraman who works at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California started online petition urging organisers of the Science Congress to drop the sessions on so called pseudo-science.

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