Ministry of Culture06-July, 2013 15:41 IST
Speech of Union Minister of Culture at the Inauguration Ceremony of Jorhat Science Centre and Planetarium, Jorhat (Assam).

FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF THE SPEECH OF UNION MINISTER OF CULTURE SMT CHANDRESH KUMARI KATOCH AT THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY OF JORHAT SCIENCE CENTRE AND PLANETARIUM, JORHAT (ASSAM) ON 06 JULY, 2013.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here today in the beautiful surroundings of Jorhat Science Centre and Planetarium facility. Jorhat is one of the ancient cities of Assam and I am glad that we are opening our first Regional Centre in Assam in this place. Johrat is not only the constituency of your beloved Chief Minister but it’s a gateway of Upper Assam and even Nagaland. It is said that the State of Assam is named after the Ahom Dynasty. Jorhat was also the capital of the Ahom Kingdom. It is the seat of Assamese culture and has famous places such as Majuli Island and Kaziranga National Park. It boasts of famous personalities such as Lachit Borpukan, the great Ahom general known for his leadership in the battle of Saraighat in which he defeated the mighty Mughal Army.

The objective of such Science Centres is to create scientific temper and awareness among the people at large and students in particular. The National Council of Science Museums, under my ministry has designed and developed this new centre for the people of Assam and other Northeastern states. This is a unique initiative of the Government of India and the Government of Assam to present to the people of Jorhat the facility of a Science Centre and planetarium to provide non-formal hands-on science and space education to the public and specially students and children.

As a result this Centre has come up with a thematic gallery on the 'Story of Oil', a gallery on 'Fun Science' demonstrating general principles of science in fun-filled way, a fully automated computerized planetarium and a lush green 'Science Park'.

When India attained Independence, we were a country left behind by the colonial rulers which was struggling to feed its hungry millions. We had to rely upon the imported food grains from USA and other developed countries to feed our citizens. Our founding father Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid special emphasis on science and technology and was responsible for establishing scientific institutions and industries, which he called the Temples of Modern India. We were able to usher in a Green Revolution under the leadership of Dr. Swaminathan, who was given a complete free hand to do so by the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which resulted in our being self sufficient in food and agriculture. Despite our population growing by more than 4 times, since independence, we are now able to produce sufficient food grains that can feed the entire nation. We are the highest milk producer in the world. This has happened largely due to the rapid strides in agriculture science brought about by our agriculture scientists.

Under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi India has made rapid progress in technology as can be seen by the Information and Telecommunication revolution that India has witnessed over the years. We are now a force to reckon with in the field of IT in the world, making even advanced countries like USA take notice of our strength in IT. We have to our credit several other achievements in the fields of space, atomic energy and other frontier areas of Science and Technology.

My government is committed to promoting science and scientific education through the network of science centers in the country. Till date we have built 48 Centers and 7 more are in the making.

Alongside such progress, a portion of India's population continues to believe in superstitions and dogmas. It is science and science alone that can get rid of such superstitions. It is, therefore, extremely important that a special impetus is given to developing scientific temper in society and creating awareness among the citizens, of which Pandit Nehru was so passionate and this can be achieved through science centres.

I am happy to participate in the inaugural programme of such a centre today. In fact India is perhaps the only country which enshrines the term scientific temper in its constitution, mainly because Pandit Nehru strongly believed in this. In successive science policies of Govt. of India, creation of awareness on science and technology and developing a scientific temper in the society has been emphasized. If we have to realize the dream of Pandit Nehru, we need to strengthen our efforts in taking science and technology to people.

I am sure the public particularly the school children will be immensely benefitted from this unique centre and its activities. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the NCSM and S&T Department of Assam responsible for developing this centre. I urge all of you to utilize the facilities of this Science Centre and inform your friends and relatives and fellow students about your experience. If this facility is utilized, the real objective of creating scientific temper in society will be realized and society will progress.”

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(Release ID :97063)