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July 8, 2013
PM’s remarks at the book release function of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister
“It gives me great joy to be present for the release of this important book that traces the march of science in India over the last decade and underlines the significant achievements that have been recorded.
Since coming to power nearly a decade ago, our government has taken a number of foundational steps to promote India’s long-term economic and social transformation through the use of science. Many of these initiatives owe a great deal to policy suggestions and inputs from the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. Let me therefore congratulate Prof. Rao and the larger scientific community you represent for these remarkable achievements. It is only appropriate that these are properly documented and publicized, so that we can build on them and use the roadmap identified by the Council to lead India to knowledge, prosperity and power.
Based on the recommendations and advice received from the Council, the Government has built five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, eight new IITs and many advanced centres of higher learning during this period of the decade. A vigorous effort has been made to attract Indian diaspora for research careers in India and as we have heard from some distinguished scientists here, this is indeed beginning to pay off. The Council has also prepared a vision document and road maps for developing the national science sector, which we need to take forward in a planned manner over the next few years.
Our efforts during the last decade have focused on two broad themes. First, we have attempted to strengthen and expand our institutional mechanism for scientific research. Secondly, we have tried to leverage science to address the longstanding practical problems afflicting our people, be it disease, malnutrition, lack of energy or sanitation and provision of safe drinking water. I have always believed that our scientists must provide viable solutions to pressing national problems of food and nutrition security, energy and environment security and water and sanitation related problems. We also require new approaches to make our innovations green and affordable to many.
Healthy economic growth through much of this period has made it possible for our science sector to gain critical strength and participate in the nation building processes more effectively than in the past. Today, even though our economic growth has slowed down somewhat, our aspirations in science must not flag and the momentum gained in the science sector must not be lost, for they create the very fundamentals for sustained growth and well-being.
The new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy launched earlier this year aims to make India a global leader in science. For this to happen, we need a regular supply of talent. We need strong and high-quality educational and scientific institutions to identify and mentor talent. We also need an ecosystem in which applications of new scientific knowledge can be seamlessly integrated with innovation to drive the path of economic progress and prosperity and solve the unique problems of our people.
Adequate funding is no doubt critical for science and our Government has accorded high priority to this aspect. Unfortunately, private sector investment into R&D has not grown fast enough for us to double the overall national investments into R&D from the current level of 1% of GDP to 2%. Increasing private sector investments into R&D and making possible conversion of knowledge into value and wealth remains a challenge that I would like the Council to look into.
Science is a tool to empower and emancipate our people. Unless our internal asymmetries are bridged, India will continue to figure poorly in various human development rankings. I would urge the scientific community to discover new methods for improved delivery of our R&D outputs. Public and political understanding of the opportunities offered by new and emerging technologies must be enhanced considerably. I would like the Council to spearhead a change of mindsets, so that we remain open to the use of new technologies for addressing pressing national priorities.
In conclusion, I have no hesitation in stating that the achievements of Indian science during the last decade have without doubt been very impressive. But we must not rest on our laurels. Based on our record, we can and we must aim higher in the years ahead. I am confident that this Scientific Advisory Council and Prof. C.N.R. Rao’s leadership, will continue to push the frontiers of Indian science simultaneously in the twin dimensions of excellence and relevance, as mentioned by Shri Jaipal Reddy.
With these words, I wish you well in your noble endeavours.”
Printed from the website http://www.pmindia.nic.in
#Archbhoo #Architecture #Infrastructure #Building #Innovation #Poverty #Developments #Food #Farmers #Uru #Urban #Housing #Life
- 331 days ago via site
#India will be the super power country by 2020 with our Brave #Childlabor #Bricks #Construction #Money #Food #UN #Developments #Corruption(never I don't allow child at my site...but materials..like bricks?shame..for us)
BLEAK FUTURE: Two out of three child labourers are engaged in agriculture and allied activities; the rest are in informal and unorganised sectors. Here, two children work in a brick kiln in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. File Photo: G.N. Rao
While governments and civil society commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour on June 12, over 20 crore children are still engaged as child labourers. More than half of them face the worst forms of child labour. Though India has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of child labourers, this is a global scourge. The Asia-Pacific accounts for 41 per cent of all child labour, followed by Africa with 33 per cent and Latin America with 8 per cent. Child labour exists in the United States and parts of Europe, particularly Central and Eastern Europe.
Two out of three child labourers are engaged in agriculture and allied activities; the rest are in informal and unorganised sectors. Some are used for prostitution and pornography. Many are forced into beggary and into committing petty crimes for their bosses. Still others are drafted as child soldiers.
Child labour and slavery are among the worst forms of human rights violations. The prevalence of child labour points to utter disrespect towards international declarations, treaties and conventions, and national constitutions and legislation. It is the biggest obstacle in the way of education and development. Its continued prevalence is evidence of a lack of political will and social concern. Child labour denies freedom, justice, dignity, equal opportunities and a fulfilled childhood. It also endangers children's present and future. It is a slap in the face of civilisations, cultures and religions.
The push factors include abject poverty, illiteracy, lack of awareness, parents' gullibility and a child un-friendly mindset in communities Then there are socio-cultural discrimination, gender bias, denial of legal safeguards and thin outreach of development benefits. The absence or inadequacy of educational facilities, the state's incapability to effectively handle natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, droughts and famines, are other causes. Development disasters such as deforestation, mining and displacement are largely responsible for children falling prey to child labour.
Greedy employers looking for a vulnerable, docile and cheap workforce, bribery and other forms of corruption and apathy among law enforcement agencies, combined with connivance among traffickers, employers, politicians and bureaucracy are some of the pull factors. In addition to the fact that children provide cheap or free labour, they are preferred to adults because they do not challenge employers or form unions, are unable to demand decent work and never resort to strikes despite abuse and exploitation.
Besides the legal obligations, the countries are accountable to two other international commitments — the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Dakar Framework for Action on Education For All. India is a signatory to both. Education figures prominently among the MDGs, along with poverty reduction, employment generation and adult literacy. The international community has pledged to achieve both the development and education goals by 2015. This means all children are supposed to be enrolled in schools this year.
What could be a matter of bigger urgency than seven crore children who have never been to school, or another 15 crore who have dropped out? Recent UN reports are alarming. More than 80 countries have failed their children in their commitment towards education. Civil society has been pointing out that without the abolition of child labour, these goals can never be met, as it is a cross-cutting issue.
A recent UN study on the economic aspects of child labour reveals that an investment of $1 on the elimination of child labour will return $7 over a period of 20 years. While lack of education is a cause of child labour, it is also its consequence and effect. Education is the single most important tool of growth that can be given to children to take them out of the rut of poverty and to better their lives. Bringing children under the ambit of education requires getting them liberated from the trap of child labour.
Child labour is a major threat to the success of Corporate Social Responsibility and ethical trading practices. Globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation have fuelled a massive demand for cheap and docile labour in the supply chain.
There are several success stories to learn from. Mid-day meal programmes and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in India have helped increase the enrolment and retention of children in schools. In Bangladesh, a food-for-education programme and special focus on girls' education have helped remarkably.
(The author is the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan and chairperson of the Global March Against Child Labour.)
Keywords: World Day Against Child Labour, child labourers, child soldiers, Mid-day meal programmes, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
- 1126 days ago via site