MS Swaminathan, the mentor of India's Green Revolution, Sunday called for an early passage of the Right to Food Act, saying it would be the "brightest jewel in the nation's crown".
Swaminathan's recorded message was played at an international conference on sustainable environment and heritage here. He was to inaugurate but could not make the trip due to pressing engagement at the last minute.
The Right to Food campaign aims at addressing the structural defects so as to overcome the problem of hunger in the country.
Swaminathan said scientists must now engage in anticipatory research along with participatory and strategic research to provide solutions to future challenges like global warming.
Modern science has provided us the tools and transformational technologies to minimise the negative impacts, he said.
"We have to be prepared for droughts and floods. We need to develop sustainable agricultural growth."
The government's policies were guided by the life-cycle approach, providing for legal support from conception to cremation, he said.
Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh, an eminent water conservationist, said in his key-note address that "the biggest corruption today is the transformation of rivers into drains and sewage canals".
He said indigenous knowledge systems were being discarded and imported growth models transplanted, creating distortions. The urban-rural dichotomy was being perpetuated.
"In the past 64 years after independence, eight times more area had come under drought and 10 times more area had come under floods. People and resources were being displaced inviting disasters," Rajendra Singh said.
Governments should respect the peculiar geo-cultural diversity aimed at restoration and conservation of resources, he said.
The conference is being attended by social and green activists, and experts from other fields, according to M. Asad Pathan, a former Indian Oil Corp chairman and now chairman of Tata Petrodyne Ltd.
In her message, President Pratibha Patil said the conference provided an excellent opportunity for experts, policy makers, researchers, scientists, academics, engineers, architects, industrialists and concerned citizens to come together on one platform to discuss challenges and solutions towards making the concept of eco-villages and cities a practical reality.