We must strive to be a leader in biotech drug discovery, says PM Modi

Listing out his mantra for science and entrepreneurship, the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi during in his inaugural address at the Nobel Prize Series at Ahmedabad, exhorted the scientists to work towards making India a biotech hub

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The Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi inaugurating the Nobel Prize Series Exhibition at Science City, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on January 09, 2017.

New Delhi: “My Government has a clear vision of where we want India to be in the next 15 years. Science and Technology is the pivot on which that vision will translate into strategy and action. Our vision is to make sure that opportunity is available to all our youth. That training and future preparedness should make our youth employable in the best places. That India should be a great science destination,” informed the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi in his inaugural address at the Nobel Prize Series at Ahmedabad.

PM Modi congratulated the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, the Government of Gujarat and the Nobel Media, who have brought this exhibition to Science City for five weeks. “Earlier, there have been occasions when one, two or three Nobel Laureates have visited India and had interactions with students and scientists in a limited manner. But, today, we are making history by having a galaxy of Nobel Laureates in Gujarat, ” stated the PM.

“India is already a generics and biosimilar leader, with a major hub in Gujarat, but we must now strive to become a leader in new biotech discoveries as well”– Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

PM urged all to visit the Science City over the coming weeks. “Our students will cherish this extraordinary experience of interacting with you. It will inspire them to undertake new and significant challenges that hold the key to our shared sustainable future. I am very hopeful that this exhibition and this Series will become a strong link between you and our students, science-teachers and our scientists,” said Mr Modi.

A plan that will take this vision through action

The Prime Minister elaborated that the scientists have been asked to develop programmes on science teaching in our schools across the country. This will also involve training teachers. At the next level they have been asked  to create new programmes both in skilling and high-tech training.

“These programmes will make you employable in the new knowledge economy and make you effective entrepreneurs and thinking scientists. You will be able to compete for positions and jobs here and anywhere in the world. Next, our scientists will link our laboratories in cities. You  can share ideas, seminars  and resources and equipment. This will allow us to do more and better collaborative science,” Mr Modi told the audience of govt officials, students and teachers.

He added further, “Our science agencies will expand science-driven entrepreneurship and commercialization in a big way in each state according to local needs. Your start-ups and industry can then compete globally. These seeds must be planted this year and we will then see fruits come steadily.”

PM  Modi listed his expectations from the Nobel Prize series

First, follow up with students and their teachers. The students and teachers here have come through a national ‘Ideathon’ competition and hail from all over the country. Do not lose track of  them.

Second, stimulate entrepreneurship locally. There is a great entrepreneurial zeal amongst our youth. Our science ministries have incubators here in Gujarat. In the next five weeks, you should have a workshop on how cutting edge science and technology-driven start-ups can be boosted.

Third, impact on societyMany Nobel Prize winning discoveries have had a huge impact on our society through health and agriculture. For example, precision medicine using the tools of gene-technologies is now a reality. We must use this tool to study cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases.

India is already a generics and bio-similar leader, with a major hub in Gujarat, but we must now strive to become a leader in new biotech discoveries as well.

Addressing the students, he said, “You are the foundation and the future of India. You should build new ranges from which the peaks will arise. If we focus on the foundation, in our schools and colleges and through teachers all miracles can happen. There will be hundreds of peaks from India. But, if we neglect the hard work at the base no peak will magically appear.”

While concluding, the Prime Minister thanked the Nobel Media Foundation, the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Government of Gujarat for organising such an innovative programme.