Kolkata, Jan 3 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday asked scientists to help spread the scientific culture among people and bridge the gap between society and science.
Inaugurating the centenary session of the Indian Science Congress here in Kolkata, Mukherjee urged scientists to win another Nobel for India soon.
"It has been 83 long years since C.V. Raman won the Nobel Prize for Physics. Another Nobel Prize in the sciences is long overdue for India," the president said.
He called upon the scientists to apply modern tools for communicating science in a manner that can be understood by the common man.
"This understanding would contribute to the creation of a science culture in the Indian society," he said.
For the first time in the history of the event, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is chairing the session.
Six Nobel laureates, 60 foreign scientists and 15,000 delegates are taking part in the five-day conclave whose theme is "Science for Shaping Future of India".
The prime minister said science and technology must be used for boosting agricultural production as well as to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots.
"As India seeks a sustained growth of its national income, we must endeavour to harness the tools of science to cater to the needs of the underprivileged and to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots," he said.
The prime minister also called for popularising science in schools and colleges, as well as in homes and workplaces through communication methods.
"Eventually, science must help in establishing an inclusive society that seeks to solve major social problems through the application of science," he stressed.
Manmohan Singh called upon scientists to carve a niche for India in the fields of energy security, sanitation, provision of safe drinking water, labour intensive manufactures and universal healthcare at affordable prices.
He asked the industry to participate in the effort by setting up in-house research centres and through interaction with the academia.
Stressing that the "quality of India's scientific institutions will depend upon the quality of the students we can attract into science, the freedom we give them in pursuing scientific research and the human resource policies we follow in selecting leaders", Manmohan Singh said only the best students must be selected.
He also called for using the services of Indian scientists abroad "who may wish to return to India at least for some years".
The prime minister also chaired a session on science for shaping the future of India at the Science Congress.
He also unveiled the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013, which aspires to position India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020.
Science and Technology Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, among others, were present at the inaugural function.