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103rd Indian Science Congress: curtains came down on high note

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103rd Indian Science Congress
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Mysuru: Around 12,500 delegates participated in various events of the 103rd Indian Science Congress. The events included plenary sessions, public lectures and a mega-expo on a fascinating subject from school to university level. However, after a five-day session, the event concluded on a high note on Thursday.

Held in the sprawling 700-acre University of Mysore campus in this heritage city, about 140km from Bengaluru, the annual jamboree attracted a galaxy of scientists, Nobel Laureates, researchers and students from across the country and abroad.

“It was historic for us to host such a major science event during our centenary year and 33 years after holding first time in 1982 when (then prime minister) Indira Gandhi opened it”, Vice-Chancellor K S Rangappa told media at the valedictory session.

Addressing the gathering at the valedictory function, Governor Vajubhai R Vala urged each scientist to adopt at least five students and mentor them in their pursuit.

“Scientists should not keep knowledge to themselves but pass on to their students and next generation. Present-day students are very intelligent, as they score 96 percent in every exam unlike us when we could score high only in term exams”, he said, drawing huge applause from the packed audience in Crawford Hall.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the event on January 3 with a new mantra of ‘five 5s’ for enquiry and engineering by the scientific community, brain-storming sessions followed in diverse subjects spanning space, technology and developments in their various disciplines.

Unlike the previous congress in Mumbai, when a session on Vedic science triggered controversy, the Science Congress association managed to keep the event free from mythology and non-science.

An IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, however, presented a paper on health benefits of conch (shank) in session on Tuesday, while a botany professor (Akhilesh Pandey) from Madhya Pradesh failed to present a paper on Hindu god Shiva being the “greatest environmentalist” as he failed to turn up on Wednesday following an injury.

The event in Mansagangotri campus also had a children’s congress, women’s congress and a fair under all of Pride’ dedicated to former president A P J Abdul Kalam, who expressed a wish to participate before he passed away at Shillong on July 27 last year.

“We had a record turnout of people to the exhibition, especially hundreds of school and college students from the city, demonstrating keen interest and enthusiasm among them for basic and applied science,” Rangappa said.

Veteran scientist C N R Rao delivered a lecture on “Doing Science in India’ on Sunday after the inaugural session, which was webcast for live streaming, about 400 scientists from overseas and across the country and about 100 noted speakers presented papers in various disciplines.

Five Nobel Laureates — John B Gurdon (medicine, 2012) from Britain, Dass Shechtman (chemistry, 2011) from Israel, David J Gross (physics, 2004) and Arthur B. McDonald (physics, 2015) from the US and Serge Haroche (physics, 2012) from France — spoke at the panel discussion on “Science & Technology: Present & Future”.

Indian-born Fields medallist Manjul Bhargava from Princeton University, New Jersey also gave a public talk on inaugural day.

Besides Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, union Science & Technology Minister Harsha Vardhan, union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and union Health Minister J P Nadda participated in various functions during the event.(IANS) (Picture Courtesy:thebengalurutimes.blogspot.com)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)