Speaking on the occasion, the President said that after Independence, India began to climb the value chain in technology and knowledge production in the areas of space and atomic energy. Today, we have expanded to best-in-class capacities in communication technology, IT, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. This has changed perceptions about our country and helped both our people and our economy. In the past year itself, we have had stand-out achievements such as the launch of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System - 1L. We are also making preparations for the Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon. India has a formidable reputation in drugs and vaccines.Congratulating the award winners at the event, the President said the emphasis on quality in our innovation and technology endeavours is non-negotiable. There was a time when we tended to confuse frugal and low-cost innovation with jugaad – small, incremental change or essentially a cut-and-paste approach to technology. As a society, we have and we must continue to overcome that mindset.
Today’s award winners are examples of how we are moving ahead with daring, with risk-taking ability and with ingenuity – how we are making genuine leaps of imagination and of innovation. Beyond the products and processes, it is this new energy among our technology incubators that is refreshing.The President said that now we have to explore new frontiers. The government has proposed to establish Centres of Excellence to train young technologists in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacture, Big Data Analytics, quantum communication, and in the Internet of Things. The government is also pursuing demonstration and deployment of successful technology solutions for clean energy options and for meeting the challenge of water availability. These are 21st century challenges – and they require 21st century answers.The President said that technology is destiny, but technology must also be equity. Its fruits must be accessible to all. Finance and resources should be available to all technologists who may wish to turn entrepreneurs – and to migrate from the lab room to the shop floor. Above all, gender equity must be integrated with technology production and technology sharing. We need more of our country’s young women to enter the technology and innovation space. Those who are already working here are doing a remarkable job, but their numbers need to improve. And improve urgently.