VP Naidu urges scientists to find long-term solutions to farmers’ problems & pleads for greater synergy btw industry & academia

BY Partha Roy

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Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon the scientific community to find long-term solutions to the problems faced by farmers and improve crop productivity and farmers’ earnings. Scientists should explore ways to make crops climate-resilient, nutrition-efficient and less water consuming, he said while delivering the Valedictory address at the 107th Indian Science Congress held at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bengaluru on Tuesday, January 07. Global warming and climate change were affecting the weather patterns in an unpredictable manner and causing massive devastation at times; he said and sought to know from the scientists whether the problems faced by farmers due to nature’s fury could be mitigated. Calling for concerted efforts, Naidu emphasized   critical role of technology in enhancing both the quality and quantity across the agriculture value chain from the use of inputs at the pre-production stage to post-production and marketing to improve the income of farmers. The technology was making our lives more comfortable but at the same time, new challenges were arising. Science must find solutions to problems like increasing urbanization, pollution, urban-rural divide, growing antibacterial resistance, genetic & non-communicable diseases and water scarcity, among others. Urging schools to lay the foundation for the spread of a strong scientific culture in the country, he stressed that such a foundation would become the basis for creating an ecosystem for creativity and innovation to thrive.“The need of the hour is to foster the spirit of inquisitiveness, curiosity and scientific temper right from the primary school level”, he said.

There is a crying need for universities and scientific institutions to promote R & D on a big scale, he said and pleaded for expanding academia-industry linkage to promote research and innovation in a big way. Technological innovation was a key driver in boosting economy, improving people’s lives and enabling better delivery of services he added.“India like no other country has a huge demographic dividend and can emerge as the innovation and knowledge if our universities and scientific institutions invest more on R & D and significantly the raise the standards of research”, Shri Naidu stressed. The Vice President also urged corporate India to develop a symbiotic partnership with the universities and to identify and fund a dozen futuristic projects. Opining that India was surging forward with renewed vigour and enthusiasm, the Vice President said that it must leverage the demographic opportunity with science and technology playing a leading role in driving the economic and social development in order to make the country a $ 5 trillion economy.VP  Naidu lauded the government initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India and Start-Up India that promote indigenous manufacturing, empower people digitally and wealth-creation through innovation. He wanted senior scientists to mentor and hand-hold the young ones to benefit from such schemes and realize their scientific and entrepreneurial potential.

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