Adopt a value system based on science, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged the youth.

“Complex issues, be they genetically modified food or nuclear energy or the exploration of outer space, cannot be settled by faith, emotion and fear, but by structured debate, analysis and enlightenment,” the Prime Minister said during his speech at the 100th Indian Science Congress.

Transformation of the agricultural sector, Singh said, should be one of the top priorities. The 12th Five-Year Plan, he said, assumed a sustained growth in agriculture at the rate of 4 per cent a year, essential to achieve food security.

“This growth is constrained by shortages of water and also of land. We need new breakthroughs in water-saving technologies, enhancement of land productivity and development of climate-resilient varieties,” he said.

As the country seeks a sustained growth in national income, the Prime Minister said, focus must be on harnessing the tools of science and technology to cater to the needs of the underprivileged and “bridge the gap between have and have-nots.”

According to Singh, a scientific approach and understanding of these issues are, “as vital as our core scientific capabilities.” For this, the country has to invest in popularising science not only in educational institutions but also in homes, workplaces, communities and all available communication methods.

“Eventually, science must help in establishing an inclusive society that seeks to solve major problems through the application of science,” he added.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 3, 2013)
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