Declaring 2012 as the 'National Mathematical year' as a tribute to maths wizard Srinivasa Ramanujan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday voiced concern over the "badly inadequate" number of competent mathematicians in the country.
He also said that the perception that pursuit of mathematics does not lead to attractive career possibilities "must change."
"It is a matter of concern that for a country of our size, the number of competent mathematicians that we have is badly inadequate", he said at a function in Chennai to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Ramanujan.
Singh also declared December 22, the birthday of Ramanujan, as 'National Mathematics Day.'
Students have not pursued mathematics at advanced levels over more than three decades, which has resulted in a decline in quality of mathematics teachers at schools and colleges, Singh who is on a two-day visit to the state, told a galaxy of academics at Madras University.
"There is a general perception in our society that the pursuit of mathematics does not lead to attractive career possibilities. This perception must change. This perception may have been valid some years ago, but today there are many new career opportunities available to mathematics and the teaching perception itself has become much more attractive in recent years", Singh said.
The Prime Minister said the mathematical community has a duty to find out "ways and means" to address the shortage of top quality mathematicians and reach out to the public, especially in the modern context, where mathematics has tremendous influence on every kind of human endeavour.