NEW DELHI, May 11 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed the 1998 nuclear tests in Pokhran as one of the most glorious days in India’s history, and asserted that technology for the country is not about showing its dominance but a tool to speed up its development.
Addressing an event on the National Technology Day, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Pokhran tests, Modi said his government has used technology as a source of empowerment and to ensure social justice.
The prime minister said the Pokhran nuclear tests carried out under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee not only helped India prove its scientific capabilities but also gave a boost to its stature at the global level.
“To say in Atal ji’s words: We have never stopped on our journey and never surrendered to any challenge that has come our way,” Modi said, addressing the gathering of scientists and researchers from across the country.
On the occasion of the National Technology Day, the prime minister laid the foundation stone for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory – India (LIGO-India) and dedicated to the nation a facility to produce permanent magnets from rare earth minerals.
He also laid the foundation stone for the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Jatni, Odisha; and the Platinum Jubilee Block of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.
Modi also dedicated to the nation a Fission Molybdenum-99 production facility in Mumbai; National Hadron Beam Therapy Facility, Navi Mumbai; Radiological Research Unit, Navi Mumbai; Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Visakhapatnam; and the Women and Children Cancer Hospital Building, Navi Mumbai.
Underlining the importance of technology, he said India was moving forward with a holistic and 360-degree approach. “India considers technology as a tool for the nation’s progress, not a means to assert its dominance,” Modi said.
Be it JAM trinity, CoWIN portal or digital market for farmers, the government has used technology as an “agent of inclusion”, he said, adding that there was some technological solution available at every stage of life right from one’s birth.
The prime minister said his government’s thrust on science and technology has ushered in a big change and noted that around 4,000 patents used to be registered annually 10 years back, but it is over 30,000 now.
Against 70,000 trademarks were being registered annually earlier, but now the figure is over 2.5 lakh, while the number of incubation centres has risen to 650 from 150 in 2014, he said.
The prime minister said that more than 10,000 ATAL Tinkering Labs functioning in 700 districts have become innovation nurseries where more than 75 lakh students were working on more than 12 lakh innovation projects.
“The tinker-preneurs of India will soon become leading entrepreneurs of the world,” he said.
The prime minister said that today, at the initial period of Amrit Kaal, the goals for 2047 were clear. “We have to make India a developed and self-reliant nation,” he said.
Referring to the rapid changes taking place in the world of technology, the prime minister expressed confidence that the youths of India will lead the country in matching this pace and also crossing it.
He said India must take the lead in revolutionary technologies such as artificial intelligence tools which have emerged as the new game changers, with limitless possibilities in the health sector, drone technology, and the therapeutics sector.