Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Monday stressed the need to employ science and technology to bail out children reeling under abject poverty even as he lamented that "human connect" has become "superficial" in the digital age.
"Science is the purest form of knowledge and knowledge is universal. Digital disparity and inequality are growing. In the age of digital connectivity, we are losing the humane connect and feelings of compassion and respect towards each other. In the digital age, human connect has become superficial," Sathyarthi told reporters on the sidelines of the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai.
Satyarthi, who shared Nobel with Pakistani activist for female education Malala Yousafzai, said he was impressed by India's young scientific brains and convinced that the country was in promising hands.
"The importance of science and technology is growing and the need of the hour is to ensure that it helps children living in abject poverty as well," he added.
"There are over 17 crore child labourers in the world. While six crore kids had never been to school, 15 crore children have dropped out after (attending) primary school. We may be doing the best possible research about Mars but there are millions of children who are bought and sold at a price lesser than animals," Satyarthi said while seeking enhanced investment in child education.
Calling for innovative ways to protect children from hunger, disease and denial of education, Satyarthi said Ebola was discovered about a decade ago but no priority was given to it because the disease was affecting poor countries and had not reached US and Europe.
He said the country should take the moral leadership in ensuring that fruits of science and technology reach children.
"We still have morality and humanity deep-rooted and there should be a mix of science and moral values," he added.
Describing child labour as a "development disaster", Satyarthi said government alone cannot be blamed for it.
He said as per statistics 13 children disappear in India every hour.
Lamenting that science has been "misused" for violence, Satyarthi said he wondered what could be the "scientific base" for violence.