"Public debate is often hostage to sensationalism," he added.
Manmohan Singh said this in a speech after being named General President of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA).
"I sometimes fear that a growing culture of narrow mindedness might affect the creative, innovative and imaginative instincts of our youth,” he said.
"I urge the doyens of the scientific community to speak out and make more effective contributions to an informed and reasoned debate on the issues before the nation. The voice of our scientists is important and should be heard."
Manmohan Singh emphasised the need to use science as the means to fuel the country's development. "The burden on science in the future will only increase. Our problems are overwhelming and need scientific solutions.
"We have to use our abundant intellectual resources to find new pathways of development that use our scarce natural resources judiciously," he said. The ISCA is marking its centenary year celebrations.