Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday warned against "growing intolerance" among Indians and said public debate seemed to have become a "hostage to sensationalism".
"In recent times, I have been observing a growing intolerance among our people of dissent and opinions that contradict the prevailing orthodoxy," the prime minister said in Kolkata.
"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.