The Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma inaugurated the first ever Science Centre and Planetarium in the Union Territory of Puducherry today. N. Rangasamy, Chief Minister of Puducherry, T. Thiagarajan, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Govt. of Puducherry were also present on the occasion. The Science Centre and Planetarium has been set up by the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) of Ministry of Culture.
While delivering the inaugural address, Dr. Sharma emphasized that India with its youth power can contribute to Global Development Agenda as India is a young country with 35% of the population being less than 30 years of age. The world is looking to India, recognizing its power of youth and potential for economic development, he said. India has also provided talented human resource to major scientific and business enterprises in the world, for example large number of Indian born doctors work in England manning its health care infrastructure, and similarly, a large number of scientists and engineers work in NASA driving the Space program of United States, the Minister explained. Dr. Mahesh Sharma further said that Science Centres can play an important role in empowering the youth with skills and knowledge in science and technology, apart from providing hands- on environment for science learning. He further added that the interactive exhibits and planetarium of the science centre can help in better learning of science concepts.
The Chief Minister and the Science and Technology Minister of Puducherry lauded the efforts of the Central Govt. in developing the science centres and museums in the country which are helping in transforming the science education in the States. They appealed to Dr. Mahesh Sharma to approve another science centre for Karaikal.
Built at a cost of approximately Rs. 5.50 crore, the Puducherry Science Centre and Planetarium has interactive exhibition galleries on Marine Biology and Fun Science, in addition to a 8m dome digital planetarium and an open-air science park. This centre will organize year round activities to popularize science and enhance public understanding, appreciation and engagement in the process of science and technology.
The Science Centre Puducherry is the 47th Science Centre in the country which has been opened to the public and the 48th Science Centre in Dehradun shall be opened shortly. The Council is currently in the process of developing 21 more science centres in different parts of the country. The NCSM also runs 23 Mobile exhibition units for operating in rural areas. Over 13.5 million visitors visit these centres annually and 2.5 million rural children benefit from its mobile science exhibition units.