Future Will Be Shaped by Societies That Invest in Science, Innovation: PM Modi at Grand Challenges Annual Meeting

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Calling for well-planned investments in science and innovation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the future of the world will be shaped by societies that invest in these areas but collaboration and public participation will be among the key metrics. "Future will be shaped by societies that invest in science and innovation," the prime minister said in his keynote address at the inaugural function of the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting 2020.

Modi said these investments must be planned well in advance and cannot be done in a short-sighted manner. The prime minister said one needs to invest in science and innovation in advance to reap benefits at the right time. The journey to innovations must be shaped by collaboration, public participation, as science will never prosper in silos, he added.

Modi also said India is witnessing a decline in daily COVID cases and in its growth rate, while the country also has one of the highest recovery rates of 88 per cent in the world. He also referred to many interventions made by India, including for improved cleanliness and greater toilet coverage, which contribute to a better healthcare system.

Modi said this meeting was to be held physically in India but is now being held virtually due to the changed circumstances. The annual event brings together scientists and innovators from across the world in order to deliberate on solving key global challenges.

The 2020 summit, being convened virtually from October 19-21, brings together policymakers and scientific leaders, calling for deepened scientific collaborations in solving global health problems, with great emphasis on COVID-19 with an "India for the World" framing. The three-day event will feature leaders talks, panel discussions and virtual informal conversations on topics ranging from scientific interventions for fighting the pandemic, managing the pandemic and accelerating the development and implementation of global solutions to combat this pandemic and prevent the next one. Approximately 1600 people from 40 countries are participating in this meeting.

It is being co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, the Indian Council of Medical Research and NITI Aayog, along with the Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development and Wellcome. Grand Challenges India was set up as a partnership of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012, and Wellcome also joined the partnership. Grand Challenges India works across a range of health and developmental priorities ranging from agriculture, nutrition, sanitation, maternal and child health to infectious diseases.