Prime Minister Narendra Modi today exhorted scientists to extend their research from "the labs to the land" for the greater benefit of the people and said time was ripe to redefine ‘R&D' as research for development of the nation.
Addressing the inaugural session of the 105th Indian Science Congress here, he said India has a rich tradition and a long history of both discovery and use of science and technology.
"It is time to reclaim our rightful place among the front-line nations in this field," he said, calling upon the scientific community to extend its research from "the labs to the land".
Modi said the country has to be "future ready" in implementing technologies vital for the growth and prosperity of the nation.
"Technology will allow far greater penetration of services such as education, health care and banking to our citizens," he said.
There is need, the prime minister said, to communicate our scientific achievements to society.
This, he said, will help inculcate scientific temper among the youth.
"We have to throw open our institutions and laboratories to our children. I call upon scientists to develop a mechanism for interaction with school-children," he said.
He said it was his "personal request" that scientists spend 100 hours per annum with 100 students of classes 9 to 12 to discuss science and technology as it could help nurture scientific temperament among the youth.
The government has set a target of 100 GW (giga watt) of installed solar power by 2022, Modi told the gathering.
"Efficiency of solar modules currently available in the market is around 17-18 per cent. Can our scientists take a challenge to come up with a more efficient solar module, which can be produced in India at the same cost," he asked.
He also said the government is committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix above 40 per cent by 2030.
India is a leader in the multi-country Solar Alliance and in Mission Innovation. These groupings are providing a thrust to R and D for clean energy, the prime minister pointed out.