Sunday, January 3, 2010
Indian Science Congress 2010
PM steers clear of R&D
Writes Vinod Varshney
Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh steered clear Sunday from his earlier commitment to raise expenditure on science & technology R & D up to 2 percent of the GDP by the end of eleventh five year plan which will end in 2012.
While inaugurating the 97th Indian Science Congress which will deliberate on the issue of 'Science and Technology Challenges of the 21st Century -- National Perspective over the next five days, the Prime Minister did not mention this key issue which is known as the biggest hurdle for the speedy development of Indian science.
Science and Technology Minister Prithivi Raj Chavan too only made a brief mention of the need to enhance expenditure on research and development.
Performance of Man Mohan Government is Dismal
The performance of Man Mohan Singh government is apparently dismal on this count as the national expenditure on R&D is still 1 percent of the GDP and there is no possibility it can go up to 2 percent within next two years.
In fact this issue of expenditure had embarrassed government institutions immensely when former President APJ Abdul Kalam had criticized them for not being able to spend whatever little money was allotted to them in the national budget.
Last year in Shillong the General President T Ramasami had informed the delegates of 96th Indian Science Congress in his presidential address that most developed economies invest about 2.5% of GDP in research and development whereas Indian spending on R&D is languishing at nearly 1% but the government has proposed to invest about 2% of GDP into Research and Development.
Everybody agrees that the relatively weaker competitiveness of India in the world of Research and Development can be traced to the very small size of the Indian R&D base. Our R&D base may need to be at least trebled within the next five years. But where is the money?