Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

PM’s keynote address at Grand Challenges Annual Meeting 2020

  • This meeting was to be held physically in India. But, in changed circumstances it is being held virtually. Such is the power of technology that a global pandemic did not keep us apart.
  • This programme has continued as per schedule. This shows the commitment of the grand challenges community. It shows a commitment to adapt and innovate.
  • Friends, The future will be shaped by societies that invest in science and innovation. But, this cannot be done in a short-sighted manner.
  • One has to invest in science and innovation well in advance. That is when we can reap benefits at the right time. Similarly, the journey to these innovations must be shaped by collaboration and public participation. Science will never prosper in silos.
  • The Grand Challenges Programme has understood this ethos well. The scale of this programme is commendable .
  • In 15 years, you have engaged with several nations globally. The nature of issues addressed is diverse.
  • You have combined bright global talent to address problems such as: Antimicrobial Resistance, Maternal and Child Health, Agriculture, Nutrition, WaSH – water, sanitation and hygiene. And many others are welcome initiatives.
  • Friends, It has taken a global pandemic to make us realise yet again the importance of teamwork. Afterall, diseases do not have geographic boundaries.
  • Diseases do not discriminate on the grounds of faith, race, gender or colour. And, by diseases I am not only talking about the current pandemic situation.
  • There are several communicable and non-communicable diseases that are impacting people, specially, bright youngsters.
  • Friends, In India, we have a strong and vibrant scientific community. We also have very good scientific institutions.
  • They have been India’s greatest assets, specially during the last several months, while fighting COVID-19. From containment to capacity building, they have achieved wonders.
  • Friends, India’s size, scale and diversity has always made the global community curious. Our nation is almost four times the size of the USA’s population.
  • Many of our states are as populated as European nations. Yet, thanks to a people powered and people driven approach, India kept its COVID-19 death rate very low.
  • Today, we are seeing a decline in the number of cases per day and the growth rate of cases. India has one of the highest recovery rates of 88 percent.
  • This happened because: India was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown when the total cases were just a few hundred. India was one of the first to encourage the usage of masks.
  • India actively began to work on effective contact-tracing. India was one of the earliest to deploy the rapid antigen tests. India has also innovated CRISPR gene editing technology.