Panel seeks higher investment in S&T and education and freedom from babus

Panel seeks higher investment in S&T and education and freedom from babus

New Delhi (ISJ): The Science Advisory Council to Indian Prime Minister has sought higher investment in science and technology, education and bureaucratic interference in the administration of science and technology sector. In its recommendations to the Prime Minister, the panel headed by Dr. CNR Rao emphasized paying greater attention to technology and innovation sector to make India internationally competitive.

?Increase in private sector investment in R&D and its partnership with the public sector in translational research is crucial,? said the panel. ?Eliminate bureaucracy and outdated procedures which dominate the management of education, science and technology today so that these sectors are freed from serious impediments.?

The Council expressed concern over India?s performance in higher education and said, ??we have very few institutions that can be found in the top category in international rankings?.
In a recent survey of educational institutions by UK?s Quacquareill Symonds, no Indian institution was found in the list of 200 top universities in the world in 2013. IIT Delhi was ranked 222, down from 212 a year earlier. The council called for making serious efforts to improve the situation, if India has to move towards becoming a global player.
The Council said, unless we take focused efforts to accomplish these objectives, India will remain spectators, as the world progresses at a fast pace in economic, social and educational sectors.
It has sought increase in investment in S&T from the present one per cent of the GDP to 2 per cent. Higher allocation will ensure the national interests are served by integrating science and technology and industry into economic and societal policies and the country would be able to succeed in solving serious problems that it faces in the next two or three decades. ?Only then, India will be able to have several of our institutions in the top 50 or 100 in the world,? said the Panel in its recommendations.
The recommendations in nutshell are:-
1. Create a strong innovation ecosystem that nurtures science-led innovation.
2. Increase investment in science and technology and education, including higher education.
3. Support outstanding individuals, groups and institutions with sufficient long-term funding.
4. Identify and generously support major national S&T initiatives that can lead to game-changing solutions to our pressing problems.
5. Eliminate bureaucracy and outdated procedures which dominate the management of education, science and technology today.
6. Create a strong innovation ecosystem that nurtures science-led innovation.
Global Innovation Index 2013 places India at the 66th position amongst 142 nations. In scientific research, India?s contribution to the global output has increased, but it still remains only at a modest level with no sign of a major upward swing in quantity or quality. While India is progressing, others are progressing faster.
In an obvious reference to China, the Council said, ?some of our neighbouring countries have invested much more in people, institutions and infrastructure, and harvested the benefits of science, technology and innovation (STI) to achieve dramatic economic growth?.
The Council has also appealed to planners, policy makers and concerned citizens to keep in mind the high aspirations of young India and constant demand for a better quality of life for all our citizens, both of which require more purposeful effort and committed investment in science, technology and innovation (STI). It called for science-led innovation in developmental efforts to make India globally competitive.
Besides Rao, R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government of India, T. Ramaswami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, S.K.Brahmachari, biophysicist and Director General of CSIR, Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, former Director General of CSIR, Roddam Narasimha, aerospace scientist are amongst the members of the Council.


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