GIS - 25 November, 2015: Rajiv Gandhi was a decisive and early voice for India as a global technological power. He saw the power of harnessing information technology to the cause of development and thus made an immense contribution to the advancement of India and its people.
This was the leading point made by the President of the Republic, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, yesterday afternoon at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre (RGSC), in Bell Village. She was delivering the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture on the theme Rajiv Gandhi, the Architect of Modern India, an everlasting inspiration for Mauritius.
The 2015 Memorial Lecture focused on the vision of Rajiv Gandhi for science and technology as the prime movers of sustained growth and development. The Lecture also discussed how this vision is still relevant for India and Mauritius.
During the lecture, the President observed that Rajiv Gandhi would best be remembered for the path he gave to India’s industrialisation and technological advancement, and his contribution will be duly recognised in the history of the development of India as one of his main objectives besides preserving India’s unity was to prepare his country into the 21st century.
Rajiv Gandhi had the vision and insight to see that information technology and science played a key role in the process of socioeconomic development and he worked actively to develop India’s capacity in these sectors, said Dr Gurib-Fakim. ‘He took steps to unleash the potential of India and increase Government support for science and technology and associated industries as well as reduce import quotas, taxes and tariffs on technology-based industries. Rajiv Gandhi was closely associated to the introduction of computers for broader use, which initiated the telecom revolution and the importance of ICT that led to the information technology boom in India’, she pointed out.
‘Rajiv Gandhi’s vision of India was not only limited to economy, science and technology, but also that of a secular, multiracial India. A country that does not discriminate between its citizens because of the race, language, religion or culture. A vision that also covered culture, spirituality, men and society at large’, added the President.
It is recalled that Rajiv Gandhi always believed that a country should embrace science, technology and innovation by setting up the proper infrastructure, a favourable environment and the right investment climate to encourage research and development. According to him, success would depend on our ability to innovate through public and private funding to help research and development in critical areas to transform our society into a knowledge intensive society, whilst reducing poverty and inequality.
The Memorial Lecture
The Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture is a key feature since 2007, the date of the third anniversary of the inauguration of the RGSC. The Memorial Lecture aims at bridging the gap between scientists and the public, and hence providing a platform for the public to interact with well-known scientists.
The first lecture, on the theme Science, Globalisation, and Civilisation: The Challenges Within, was delivered by a former High Commissioner of the Republic of India, Shri Bondal Jaishankar.
It is recalled that the RGSC operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research. The Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre Trust Fund was established in 1994 by an Act of Parliament with the aim of promoting Science and Technology, supplement school education through non-formal programmes and create awareness on developments in Science and Technology among the public.
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