New Delhi: Former president Pranab Mukherjee today emphasised on encouraging research especially at the university level for development of science and innovation.
He said India has 753 universities, 16 IITs, 30 NITs and many Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISCERS) and they are doing a fine job but a lot needs to be done.
There is “no scope of sitting on laurels”, he said.
“Basic fundamental research has to be developed in the country and particularly in the areas of higher education, especially at the university level… We must emphasise on quality education, development of science and equally emphasise on research and encourage innovative minds,” Mukherjee said.
The former president was speaking at the launch of a book based on former Union Minister for Electronics and chairman of the Electronics Commission M S Sanjeevi Rao.
Mukherjee said the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru throughout his life emphasised on nation- building and creating scientific temperament among the people.
“He established the Atomic Energy Commission and India became a nuclear power and under the prime ministership of Manmohan Singh it was recognised internationally as a nuclear power,” Mukjerjee said.
He said Nehru and his predecessors worked on applicability of science to benefit the common people.
“We are fortunate that all the prime ministers of the country, starting from Pandit Nehru, particularly Indira ji, Rajiv ji (Gandhi), Dr Manmohan Singh and many others have contributed very effectively in the development of science and technology,” Mukherjee said.
Recalling his association with Rao, Mukherjee said he and the former Electronics Minister worked together in Parliament and in the government.
Mukherjee said he was amazed with Rao’s victory margins in elections and recollected how he once went unopposed to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
Several Congress veterans including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former Defence Minister A K Antony, Anand Sharma, Deputy Opposition Leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ambika Soni, Rao’s son and former Union minister M M Pallam Raju, one of the co-authors of the book, were present at the event.