Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India is one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. Our GDP as well as our larger developmental process is set to accelerate over the coming decades. The mining and mineral sector is poised to grow as a result of this expansion of the economy. At the same time, it will also be a driver of economic expansion. As we build more cities and houses and commercial centres, and create state-of-the-art infrastructure, our use of key resources will rise. As is well known, India’s per capita consumption of many resources and commodities is still very low by global standards and there is room to grow. This will require high-quality research initiatives for sustainable, ecologically-friendly resource generation – and meaningful investment in technological innovation in the mining sector.That is why, the President said, reforms in the mining sector have been pushed by the government over the past four years. These reforms, including amendments to existing laws and establishing a more equitable system of royalties, are starting to show results. A number of mineral blocks are being explored. Steps taken by the Ministry of Mines have led to identification of promising mineral blocks in states for auction. These measures will go a long way in enhancing the financial health of our states – and allow them to spread the benefits from mining of resources. Eventually, it is local communities that must benefit from the discovery, extraction and development of mineral resources.The President said that social expectations from our geoscientific community have increased significantly in recent years. With their deep understanding of landform dynamics, geoscientists have an important role to play in enhancing agricultural productivity and farmer incomes; in providing a bedrock to the Smart Cities initiative; and in helping our fellow citizens fight the challenge of water scarcity, which has emerged as a pressing problem. All this places a great responsibility on the shoulders of our talented and hardworking geoscientists. He expressed confidence that they would continue to deploy their knowledge and technical skills in the service of our country and our people.