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Posted: January 1, 2008
Indian science congress to focus on creation of knowledge society
(Nanowerk News) The 95th Indian Science Congress (ISC), to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday, will focus on creating a knowledge-based society to transform India into a developed country in the coming decades.
The five-day annual event, being held at the sprawling Andhra University campus, is expected to be the largest in terms of participation, special events, programmes and the scale of the science exhibition christened 'Bharat Expo'.
This is the second time the university is hosting the science summit after a gap of 32 years, when the 63rd ISC was held in 1976.
ISC president R. Ramamurthy told IANS that about 7,000 delegates from all over India and overseas were expected to descend on this scenic port city for brain-storming sessions, including plenary, special, thematic and public lectures for creating renewed interest in basic sciences and encouraging the younger generation to take to research.
'The major task before the country is to link science and technology with social action. In line with the scientific developments the world over, the science congress will address issues pertaining to space, nano-science, evergreen revolution, climate change and global warming, renewable energy, health security, traditional knowledge and rural empowerment,' Ramamurthy said.
For the first time, the organisers - the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) - and the host varsity have decided to include innovative areas such as defence studies, technologies, Vedic science and Vedanta in the itinerary for a systematic and comprehensive approach to tackle basic problems and improve the quality of life.
Eminent Indian scientists and scholars, including scientific advisor to the government R. Chidambaram, Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda, C.N.R. Rao, M.G.K. Menon, M.S. Swaminathan, U.R. Rao, T. Ramasami and Manju Sharma and Nobel Laureates George Smoot, Robert Curl Junior, Paul Nurse and Roger Kornberg will address the plenary sessions.
'The objective is to create a knowledge-based society using science and technology that is eco-friendly and sustainable in the long-term. The recommendations of this session will enable the government to formulate policies,' Ramamurthy said.
Though India is recognised as a fast developing nation with a burgeoning economy, it is yet to create an ecosystem to take the benefits of innovations in science and technology to the needy masses, especially those living in the countryside.
'In spite of proactive measures to bridge the rural-urban divide, a lot more needs to be done to lift two-thirds of the populace above poverty, improve healthcare delivery, ensure universal education, create jobs for all and empower them to become self-reliant,' Ramamurthy said.
'The dichotomy between science, engineering and technology sectors and social sciences and social action needs to be resolved through consensus for creating benefits that are environmentally sustainable and affordable to all.'
Referring to the growing conflict between development and environment, Ramamurthy said the government, industry, non-governmental organisations, self-help groups and social communities would have to coordinate with the science and technology sector to ensue the benefits of innovative technologies reach the deprived people.
Interface meetings with the Knowledge Commission, National Commission of Farmers, social action groups and local governments will lead to viable solutions for providing alternative livelihoods to tide over unfavourable weather patterns. Strengthening of education systems of all kinds needs to be addressed on priority.
As part of the summit, 14 parallel sessions will also be held on diverse subjects spanning biology, computer science, medicine, physics, chemistry, computer system, earth sciences and social sciences.
To kindle interest in science among school students, a science congress for children will be held during the event. Christened Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelan, the special session will provide a platform for brilliant youngsters from Andhra Pradesh to display their research projects as posters and working models.
Eminent scientists including former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will interact with the next generation of scientists during the session. Student delegates will visit scientific institutions, industrial units and model village development projects to enlarge their vision of science and technology.
The science exhibition called Bharat Expo will showcase developments, achievements and contributions of science and technology to meet societal needs. A number of central and state government departments, international, national, state, public and private-run institutions and labs are participating.