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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 11.11.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 40th Jawaharlal Nehru National Science, Mathematics and Environment Exhibition (JNNSMEE) on the occasion of National Education Day today, (November 11, 2013) at Gangtok, Sikkim.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said this day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of the first Education Minister of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a great visionary, freedom fighter, scholar, and eminent educationist. He recalled that addressing the Conference on All India Education on January 16, 1948, Maulana Azad observed "We must not for a moment forget, it is the birth right of every individual to receive at least the basic education without which he cannot fully discharge his duties as a citizen.”

The President said Science, Technology and Innovation is the key to progress and prosperity for our nation. Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once observed "It is scientific method alone that offers hope to mankind and ending of the agony of the world.”

The President said the central theme of this year’s exhibition, "Science and Society”, is an occasion to reflect on the issues and problems our society is facing. There is a need to make our children aware of the nexus between problems like unchecked population growth and energy crisis, depletion of natural resources, pollution of the environment, and so on. It is extremely important to inculcate the ethos of science and mathematics in the minds of our young students who are the future scientists and technologists of this nation.

The President called upon young participants to regard the five elements of life: Earth, Water, Energy, Space and Air as something that we have inherited and that we have to pass on to the next generation. We have no right to squander or pollute them because we do not own them.

The President said innovation will be a determining factor of growth in the future. India has dedicated 2010-20 as the Decade of Innovation. The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, unveiled this year, calls for mentoring grassroots innovation.

The President said his vision was that India should become a knowledge power in the coming decade wherein every Indian is literate and has access to affordable, quality education.

This release issued at 1250 hrs