Inculcate rational thinking among people: PM to scientists

Kolkata: In a first, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today chaired a panel discussion of eminent scientists where he asked them to collectively ensure that science-led innovation would pave the way for the rise of India.

Initiating the discussion on 'Science for Shaping the Future of India', he also asked scientists to take up the task of inculcating rational thinking among the ordinary people.

"The scientific community will also need to introspect whether our society is geared to making full use of the offerings of science," he told the panel comprising Principal Scientific Adviser R Chidambaram, eminent agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan and Britain's Chief Scientific Adviser John Beddington.

Observing that every generation of scientists in every country has fought existing prejudices and convictions, Singh said, "Inculcating rational thinking among the ordinary people is a task that scientists, from their vantage point, should take upon themselves as a sacred mission."

He said the accretion of knowledge had accelerated in recent times throwing up exciting possibilities.

"This has also opened up the question of whether our existing scientific paradigms are adequate to meet the challenges of future or whether we need new paradigms."

Singh said scientists need to be visionaries and offer tomorrow's solution to tomorrow's challenges.

"How do we manage the resource needs of the projected population of the world in 2035? How do we meet the needs of food and nutrition, energy and environment, water and sanitation and affordable healthcare? These are among the big questions that the scientists should apply themselves to," Singh said.