Inaugurating the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Ramanujan at the University of Madras, Dr. Singh said: "As a tribute to the great mathematician, our government has decided to declare his birthday, that is December 22, as the National Mathematics Day and the year 2012 as a whole as the National Mathematical Year."
" India has a long and glorious tradition of mathematics that we need to encourage and nurture. I hope these steps will help in providing the additional impetus to the study of mathematics in our country, apart from making our people more aware of the work of Ramanujan," Dr Singh added.
He further said that the mathematical community has a duty to find out ways and means to address the shortage of top quality mathematicians in our country.
"It must reach out to the public particularly in the modern context where mathematics has tremendous influence on every kind of human behaviour. In many ways, mathematics can be regarded as the mother science. The Natural Sciences have had a long symbiotic relationship with mathematics. Life Sciences did not seem to have much use for mathematics till about a hundred years ago, but lately mathematical interventions have had a tremendous impact on Biology," he added.
Dr. Singh said the Ramanujan story illustrates the inadequacy of the university evaluation system in the early decades of the last century while at the same time it shows that the system displayed enough flexibility to take care of mavericks like Ramanujan.
"There have been many reforms since those days but there would still be talent which would elude proper evaluation. Our institutions of higher learning, therefore, must be sensitive to this problem. A genius like Ramanujan would shine bright even in the most adverse of circumstances, but we should be geared to encourage and nurture good talent which may not be of the same caliber as that of Ramanujan," he added.