STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Gangtok, 11 November
The President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the 40th Jawaharlal Nehru National Science, Mathematics and Environment Exhibition (JNNSMEE) on the occasion of National Education Day at Ipecac Garden, near Gangtok today.
The President said the central theme of this year&’s exhibition, “Science and Society”, is an occasion to reflect on the issues and problems the society is facing. “There is a need to make our children aware of the nexus between problems like unchecked population growth and energy crisis, depletion of natural resources, pollution of the environment and so on. It is extremely important to inculcate the ethos of science and mathematics in the minds of our young students who are the future scientists and technologists of this nation,” he said.
The President called upon the young participants to regard the five elements of life: Earth, Water, Energy, Space and Air as something that men have inherited and that they have to pass on to the next generation, he said, adding  that nobody has any right to squander or pollute them as he  does not own them.
President Mukherjee said innovation will be a determining factor of growth in the future.  “India has dedicated 2010-20 as the Decade of Innovation.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, unveiled this year, calls for mentoring grassroots innovation,” he said.
He added that his vision was that India should become a knowledge power in the coming decade wherein every Indian is literate and has access to affordable, quality education.
The Governor of Sikkim, Mr Shriniwas Patil said the exhibition is being held to exchange ideas amongst the students of the nation on their innovative methods based on scientific knowledge and mathematics and added that the dimension of new thinking of the students should also be prioritised. 
The Governor also spoke about Sikkim&’s environment conservation measures and also asked the participant students to see and learn to live in harmony with nature.
Earlier, the Chief Minister, Mr Pawan Chamling said, “It is a matter of pride for Sikkim to host the national level exhibition.  The state government is committed to upgrade the science stream and the exhibition will act as a booster for the state&’s initiative.”
He further added that this exhibition is a platform for the students to exchange ideas with their counterparts on various themes and subjects.
Dr Shashi Tharoor, Union minister of state for human resource development, in his address said that Pandit Nehru had inspired the people of India with his love for children and hoped that this exhibition would ignite the minds of the young students in many more innovations and researches.
Prof B K Tripathy, Joint Director, NCERT, placed a brief background on the exhibition.
Organised by the National Centre of Education for Research and Training, the exhibition aimed to
encourage, popularise and inculcate scientific temper among the children of the country and it has around 170 exhibits on display where over 400 students from across the country have participated.
The exhibition will continue till 16 November.