Science is the Driving Force for Solutions Useful to the Society: Suresh Prabhu
“To achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth, trust-based working partnerships are needed, particularly between governments and corporations engaged in CSR activities. ”
I mbibing and promoting science and scientific rationale can address major contemporary challenges of economic growth and social transformation in societies. Given the symbiotic relationship between science and society its time that corporates channelize their CSR funds through scientific interventions and collaborate with NGOs for reaching out to the needy sections of society.
Science over the years has been critical to India's development and security and has been a key driver in India's science and technology policy. This is expressed in various statements including the Technology Policy Statement, which stressed the point that the fundamental objective of science in India was to meet the basic needs of people: food, water, housing, health and education.
Self-reliance in core sectors and in advanced technologies such as atomic energy, space technologies and defense-related applications has been another important driver in India's science and technology policy. This thrust has enabled India to achieve substantial progress in sectors such as space, and selfreliance has helped in applying science and technology for national development.
And to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth, trustbased working partnerships are needed, particularly between governments and corporations engaged in CSR activities. FICCI-
Aditya Birla CSR Centre for Excellence and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) jointly organized a conference on Promoting Scientific Interventions for Transforming India through CSR on 29 May 2018, which stressed on how science can be a potent force in driving socioeconomic development in India.
Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, in his inaugural address, said that science is critical particularly in a resource-scarce country like India. 'Science is a driving force for providing any solution to the problem, particularly in a resource-scarce society like India for providing solutions that are useful to the society,' said Minister Prabhu.
'In my view, CSR should ideally stand for, “Corporate Scientific Relationship”. Only if you have a relationship between corporates and society only then this will result into some concrete gains,' Prabhu added.
VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog Member, meanwhile pointed out that if we have to improve our position in the Global Innovation Index, we have to alter the science and technology ecosystem. 'If you look at India's journey of last 70 years, science has played a major role in bringing certain level of transformation in the country. But the underline feature of that growth is that it has been by and large supported by government investments,' Saraswat said. 'It's only in the last 5-7 years, where we have given major emphasis on how science and technology can be used as a transformation tool for inclusive growth and growth of the economy,' he added.
'And with the new rules and regulations and participation of the corporates, CSR has become a major platform for collaboration. So, if we have to really make an economic impact through S&T (science & technology) and improve our position in Global Innovation Index of 60 out of 143, we have to alter our S&T Innovation eco-system,' he added.
Saraswat also called for the global leadership in the areas of science, engineering, technology, manufacturing, and innovation to make any impact. The emergence of new technologies has opened up a variety of new applications and it's up to us now to use these applications ingeniously and with
“The emergence of new technologies has opened up a variety of new applications and it's up to us now to use these applications ingeniously and with ingenuity to explore and exploit then further. And with the established base of multiple technologies all over the world, scientific minds now have to come together for new innovations. VK Saraswat NITI Aayog Member ”
ingenuity to explore and exploit then further. And with the established base of multiple technologies all over the world, scientific minds now have to come together for new innovations.
'In other words, science has to be in league with majority of the needs of the society. In that case the investment policy, the utilization of available resources and sustainable development – these three form the foundation to transform our nation into a knowledge-based society. The world has realized that it is possible only through innovation, which is fundamental to economic well-being, and finding new ways what we call innovation agenda. He further added, 'We have seen four elements here – human, society, government and business – and all these can solve the problem of population, shortage of energy, urbanization the problems of environment, problems of health, safety and actual transportation issues and government investments to solve these social issues is happening.' 'Now these are the areas in which government, NGOs and CSR will have to play an integrated role,' said Saraswat.
Secretary General of FICCI, Dilip Chenoy, said that FICCI has been working very closely with economists, business leaders, social scientists and innovators for designing and developing solutions for public good. FICCI's Millennium Alliance is one such inclusive platform which leverages Indian creativity, expertise, and resources to identify and scale innovative solutions being developed and tested in India to address development challenges to benefit base of the pyramid populations across India and the world.
A Jayakumar, Secretary General, Vibha, stated that his organization had identified 1000 associates in 18 states which work with the community through science and technological interventions. The effort is to connect science with these organizations to impart efficiency and effectiveness in their operations.
NP Rajive, Executive Director, Vibha Vani, gave a presentation on the methodology of implementation of the focal themes of the government and how corporates could participate for successful implementation of their CSR projects.
Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation (left) with VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog Member.