"Science and technology is the most effective means to enhance growth and socio-economic development of the country with profound and long term impact for income distribution," Thomas said at the ninth edition of the Women's Science Congress.
Chief guest at the event, Thomas asserted that the role of the technologically educated population in promoting economic development has long been recognised.
Delving into the etymology of the word 'technology', she said the word first occurred in 1829, coined by a person who started a course curriculum bringing together all kinds of arts, crafts and industry and calling it 'technology'.
"There was nobody to pass on their learnings and lessons but with the discovery of fire, survival of human beings enhanced and lead to the introduction of agriculture which in turn transformed the world with newer and newer technologies," said Thomas, who has designed the guidance scheme for long-range missile systems used in all Agni missiles.
Referring to the pace of technological development, Thomas said that nano robots may live inside human bodies to keep us healthy in the future.
Described as the "Missile woman of India", Thomas has contributed immensely to their guidance, control, intertial navigation, trajectory simulation and mission design.
She was the project director for Agni-4 missile development.
In 2001, Thomas was awarded with the Agni self-reliance award for designing and developing an energy management guidance scheme for all solid propelled long range systems for the first time.
Several thousand women attended this science congress on Sunday.
Amrutha Baghyanathan, a student from Kochi's Rajagiri College of Social Sciences said that she did not know there was something like a women's science congress.
"We just came to know that there is something for women like this," said the clinical psychology student who attended the congress with a group of her friends.
Deepika Khatiyar, an MSc Physics student from Bhim Rao Amedkar University in Lucknow came to Benglauru from Uttar Pradesh to attend the women's science congress.
She said: "I have come here to explore more areas related to science and what is going on."
The 107th edition of the Indian Science Congress scheduled from January 3-7 is currently underway at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bengaluru.
( With inputs from IANS )