April 12, 2017

Speaking at “National Geo science Awards”, New Delhi

Most respected honorable Rashtrapatiji; Shri Arun Kumar, Secretary Mines; Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary Department of Science and Technology; Shri M Raju, Director General Geological Survey of India, all the award winners whose successes we are celebrating this afternoon, senior officials of Rashtrapati Bhawan, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

At the outset I would like to profusely thank honourable Rashtrapati ji, one of the most respected and senior leaders of our country, somebody who has inspired me in my work all through my life, somebody I have looked up to as a visionary and who has led this nation over years and years and decades of public life. I am indeed very grateful to you honorable President Sir for having graced this occasion. Last year also, in April 2016, when the awards were presented at your gracious hands, you had given us a very important message and I quote, ‘crucial challenge of finding deep-seated and concealed mineral resources is the mandate of the geo scientists society.’

And, in some sense, over the last, nearly a year that I have had the privilege of heading this Ministry, we have Sir tried to emulate the high ideals that you had set, and I am delighted that you have once again agreed to grace this occasion for us. In fact, Thomas Monsoon, a very famous American leader had once said, ‘once you have experienced excellence, you will never again be content with mediocrity.’ And, in some sense, the awardees today have demonstrated that they are not content with very ordinary ambitions, with very ordinary achievements. They are looking for extraordinary results. And I am sure these awards will give tremendous encouragement to keep getting better in the work that we are all doing.

Sir, the diverse awards that we just saw bear testimony to two facts. One, we saw a number of team awards being given, which show that it’s only cooperation and collaboration which help us achieve these outstanding results that we have just awarded today, and second, they bear testimony to the fact that geo science in the country is practiced with much passion and dedication across ……

The soil of the earth, they develop better land use plans, determine environmental impacts and find new sources of useful earth minerals and materials, and these are the several ways in this geo scientists contribute to our understanding of earth processes and history. They are also like detectives, because the events they investigate happened thousands of years ago, maybe millions of years ago. I am delighted there is such a wide span of awardees amongst the geo scientists’ fraternity today. Every great story on the planet happened when someone decided not to give up, but kept going on no matter what. And I am sure these geo scientists kept pursuing their ambitions, kept pursuing their goal and never gave up.

We had the team of Geological Survey of India, which was awarded for discovery and assessment of iron ore in the Greenfield area of Kabirdham district of Chhattisgarh. We had the team of Atomic Minerals Directorate which was awarded for identification of potential areas of concealed uranium deposits using multi-sensor heliborne surveys in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. And, most importantly, and I must particularly compliment Dr Abhishek Saha of the National Institute of Oceanography who has been conferred the Young Scientist Award for his significant contributions in the field of petro-chemistry of Subduction Zone Magnetism.

In fact, if I may take the liberty of quoting you Rashtrapati ji, you had said, ‘the young people of India will build a strong and powerful nation, a nation that is politically mature and economically strong, a nation whose people enjoy both a high quality of life as well as justice.’ And I assure you Sir, all of us in this team are working towards achieving those high goals and aspirations that you had set for us. We will continue to make the mining industry reform-oriented, transformational, and work to serve the people of India.

In fact, only 3 or 4 days ago, we launched the National Aero-Geophysical Mapping programme, which is a transformative change in exploration for finding out the concealed deposits in India. Very recently, we started auctioning mines by amending the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, so that the natural resources of this country can generate resources which can help us serve the poorest of the poor in the country. We have also launched the District Mineral Foundation last year, which will take care of the people and the areas affected by mining related activities. For sustainability of mining, we have launched the 5-Star Rating of Mines programme where we award miners for the efforts and initiatives taken for implementation of the sustainable development framework. We have also launched the mining surveillance system where we are using space technology to check illegal mines, and so far, that has got very good results for the major minerals. We are working to get the states on board to look at minor minerals also. We have recently launched the TAMRA mobile app for Transparency, Auction Monitoring and Resource Augmentation to facilitate all stakeholders to monitor the status of statutory clearances real time and without human intervention to bring about transparency and speed in the mining sector, particularly, to expedite production and reduce the gestation period.

Sir, as Alexander Graham Bell said, ‘the achievement of one goal should be the starting point of another.’ And we are all working as a team to continue our efforts to address the concerns of global warming, to reduce natural hazard risks for better waste disposal and ground water replenishment. And I am sure, the geo scientists’ community will continue to play a leading role to find scientific solutions to the manifold problems before the country. Your presence today Sir, and the awards given at your gracious hands, will certainly encourage all our efforts to leave behind a better planet than the one we inherited for the next generation.

It is truly a proud moment for all the awardees. It’s the result of many years of hard work, dedication, and, I am sure, the appreciation will go down to encourage more and more geo scientists to perform even better, to come with new findings. As they say, ‘the mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions.’ And I am sure this community of scientists will continue to make India proud, to make Indians proud.

Thank you very much once again Rashtrapati ji for your gracious presence.

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