Science and technology and earth sciences minister Jaipal Reddy has said there is a need for regulation in science, especially in biotechnology.
"Regulation in science is the critical need of the hour. Scientific approaches to the regulation of biotechnology-based applications need special care and wise policy inputs," said Reddy in his address at the 101st Indian Science Congress.
The government is facing resistance in the passage of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill, with critics of the bill alleging that common farmers did not get any benefit from the genetically-modified (GM) crops, and profit was the "main motive" for the use of GM crops.
However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address at the science congress, said the government should "not succumb to unscientific prejudices against Bt crops".
The minister said the government has been supportive of the science, technology and innovation sector.
"Selection of Professor CNR Rao for the award of Bharat Ratna and several other scientists for the Padma awards is symbolic of the importance being attached by the government to science," said Reddy.
He said research systems should work on problems considered important by the global scientific community, and solutions considered most necessary by Indians.
The minister said the desired inclusive development would be realised only when the best of scientific minds asked the right questions, and combined priorities of excellence with relevance.
He said the flag-bearers of the scientific community need to carry the message of science to the people of India.
"We need an ecosystem to propel India among the top 10 or 15 nations in the innovation sector," said the minister.
To tap young scientific talent, the minister said the government has released more than 1.5 million awards under INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research) in the last five years.
Reddy said it has raised hope for the pipeline of talent, as hundreds of young people in the age group of 10 to 25 years demonstrating the ability to innovate have been spotted and rewarded under various schemes.
He said the National Innovation Council has set up at pilot-level the 'Tod Fod Jod' programme in schools and colleges in Delhi, Vadodara and Karnataka to foster an enquiring mindset and creativity. The minister said the human resource development ministry was establishing 1,000 National Innovation Fellowships for children.