Mumbai, May 8 (IANS) NITI Aayog Member and defence scientist Vijay Kumar Saraswat on Wednesday extolled the virtues of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who believed that only science and technology could remove hunger and poverty from the country.
Inaugurating a mega science expo, the first "Vigyan Samagam" at the Nehru Science Centre before a distinguished audience, Saraswat said it would go a long way in attracting the best brains to science which have been migrating to fields like Information Technology.
"Former PM Nehru had said it is only science and technology which can remove hunger and poverty from the country. From then onwards, India had made great strides in basic research. Science is used not only to create energy but also for cancer research," Saraswat said.
Besides, atomic energy, India has made great contributions in the field of space science, as evident in Mangalyan and Chandrayan missions, he pointed out.
However, India still faces serious problems like high infant mortality rate and penury for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Indian science to step out of laboratories and solve problems confronting the society, Saraswat said in his inaugural address.
"Commercialisation of research has to happen for economic development. Better understanding of the universe and planet will help solve problems that we have created by adverse use of science and technology without regard for the environment," he urged.
Other prominent dignitaries speaking on the occasion included Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India (Prof) K. Vijay Raghavan, Department of Atomic Energy Secretary and Chairman Atomic Energy Commission K. N. Vyas and Department of Science and Technology Secretary Ashutosh Sharma, among others.
Other important speakers included CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology Frederick Bordry, Swiss Ambassador to India Andreas Baum, Atomic Energy Commission Secretary Arun Srivastav and National Council of Science Museums Director-General A.D. Choudhary.
Sponsored by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Department of Science & Technology (DST), in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the 11-month-long science exhibition inaugurated in Mumbai will travel to New Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru.
From Mumbai, the exhibition will go to Bengaluru on July 29-September 28, Kolkata November 4-December 31 and finally to New Delhi on January 21, 2020-March 20, after which it will be converted into a permanent exhibition at the NCSM in the national capital.
The expo takes the viewers from the world of micro to macro, unveil the efforts of the global community in understanding the working of the vast universe, its origins and evolution.
It will showcase the work of DAE on nuclear technology, fundamental science and research, discovery of the Higgs Particle to gravitational waves, merger of neutron stars and Black Holes, and India's contribution to global science in innovations, research, space and nuclear technology.
Well-known scientists and experts in different fields like Shivprasad Khened, Director of Nehru Science Centre, DST's Head of Scientific Division Praveer Asthana, former AEC Chairman P. Chidambaram, former Principal Scientific Advisor Anil Kakodkar, S. Banerjee, R.K. Sinha and S. Basu also graced the event.