Addressing the valedictory function of the 6th India International Science Festival (IISF), held virtually Friday, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said the Covid-19 pandemic “has taught us that we need to invest and sustain Research and Development.”
Urging to make India world leader in scientific research, once again, Naidu said,”Science raises the path for progress and creates material wealth for the country. The one thing the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is we need to invest and sustain R&D and strive to become self -reliant.”
Calling upon the private sector to join hands with various Indian research institutes, he said, ” We must aim to achieve self-reliance in critical sectors like electronics and defence. With the third largest startup ecosystem in the world, India has a great potential to become self-reliant in many sectors.”
Reminding researchers about the ongoing fourth industrial revolution, Naidu said, “We cannot afford to miss this opportunity and must capitalise on the demographic dividend, skill our youth and use this revolution to make our unique mark in the world of science.”
Stressing the need for developing scientific temper among children at a very young age, Naidu said the pandemic has reinforced the greater need for scientific temper in our lives. He cited the prevalence of infodemic and mis-information on coronavirus as one of the biggest challenges to tackle in recent months.
“It is not a vaccine or a drug which can defeat the infodemic. A rational outlook among the people and a citizenry that can think critically, will be immune to such mis-information and fake news. The spirit of enquiry must be taken to the people,” said Naidu.
Offering three suggestions to the scientific community, he said, “There must be more focus on science, education and youngsters must be encouraged to take up careers in science. Research quality must be improved, made sustainable in a manner where research and technology work in collaboration. Ultimately, science must address the problems the common man faces in society.”
The festival saw a virtual attendance of over one lakh participants for the 40-plus activities. Five student activities, including handwashing, making sun-dials, attending an awareness session on nutrition and others bagged the Guinness Book of World Records at the festival.
In the science film festival, a film titled ‘The Trials and Triumphs of GN Ramachandran’ directed by Rahul Iyer, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research – Pune, bagged the Best Festival award. In all, 634 films received from 60 countries were
screened at the festival.