Indian Science Congress: 10 Facts that Illustrate PM Modi’s Vision & Plans for Science

Science Congress

The 105th Science Congress will be held between March 16 and 20 this year at Manipur Central University. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also reportedly participate. In this context, it may be interesting to take stock of how the PM has been articulating his vision on science and technology over time.

The infographics below offer brief pointers and examples:

Below, we present 10 points in more detail that reflect PM Modi’s broader vision for science:
  • For the first time, a research fellowship in science & technology, with huge financial support, has been offered by the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship. The scheme, at a total cost of Rs 1,650 crore for a period of 7 years beginning 2018-19, is aimed at tapping India’s talent pool for carrying out research indigenously in cutting-edge science and technology. The programme is expected to address India’s “brain-drain” problem.


  • The PM has asserted on many occasions that science, technology and innovation are key to India’s progress and prosperity. The government’s priority in the science & technology sector is to apply science to solve the country’s problems.


  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) promotes innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide in schools, universities and industry. As of December 2017, 2,441 schools across India had been selected to establish Atal Tinkering Lab. “Cultivate One Million children in India as the Innovators of tomorrow” is the vision of this mission.


  • This is in line with the PM’s focus on grassroot innovation. He has urged officials to break the silos and evolve mechanisms to document and replicate successful innovations at the grassroots level.


  • The PM has also marked specific areas in each field to be given priority. In agriculture, for example, it is high-protein pulses, fortified foods, and value addition in castor. Solar is the focus in the energy sector to reduce dependence on energy imports and unclean energy.


  • Biotech-KISAN was announced to make a major impact on rural livelihood. The objective of the programme is to demonstrate, scale-up and address issues of local farmers related to water, soil, seed and marketing, with validated technologies. It aims to create platforms for interaction between scientists and farmers. It also includes thematic fellowships in science laboratories located across all the agro-climatic zones.


  • The PM’s Swachh Bharat initiative has given an impetus to finding innovative solutions to pressing sanitation problems. Six new bio-toilet technologies were already supported by end-2017 and different aspects of waste collection and management processes addressed. The Energy and Resources Institute, with support from the Department of Bio-technology, has set up 100 toilets to demonstrate these technologies. Also, there are various other technological accomplishments in waste water treatment, such as Vortex diode-based cavitation devices, the Rhino Digester, etc.


  • Focus has been given to women scientists & entrepreneurs. A conclave on “Women Scientists & Entrepreneurs” was held as part of the Indian International Science Festival (IISF) 2017. It brought together around 350 scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs from across the country.


  • The PM has never hesitated to acknowledge and encourage contemporary developments in science & technology. In his last “Mann ki Baat” address on February 25, 2018, he spoke at length about Artificial Intelligence and urged the scientific community to deliberate on how Artificial Intelligence could help us make life easier for our Divyangs. He further elaborated by asking: “Can we make better predictions of natural disasters using Artificial Intelligence? Can we use it to provide assistance to farmers on crop yield? Can Artificial Intelligence be used as tool to simplify the outreach of health services and modernise medical treatment?” Among world leaders, PM Modi’s interest and emphasis on AI is almost unparalleled.


  • Inspiring the young generation in science & technology seems to be an endearing and persistent trait in PM Modi. On the February 2018 “Mann ki Baat”, he paid homage to the contribution of C.V. Raman and also to India’s rich scientific tradition by recalling the names of mathematicians like Bodhayana, Bhaskara, Brahmagupta and Aryabhatta; in the field of medicine, he recalled how Sushruta & Charaka have a place of pride among us. In the more modern era, he recalled the contributions of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and Har Gobind Khurana and Satyendranath Bose.