PM Manmohan Singh Discusses R&D Roadmap For India
By Srinivas Laxman | Top News
February 24, 2012
In an interview published today in the journal Science, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh describes his plans for the country’s R&D sector over the next 5 to 10 years.
AsianScientist (Feb. 24, 2012) – In an interview published today in Science Magazine, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described China as a great neighbor of India and added that the countries were engaged in a stage of development where both have to compete and co-operate.
The 132-year-old American journal has devoted this week’s issue mainly to science developments in India.
“We are the two largest developing countries and the fastest growing countries. Now, we’ve had in the past problems way back in the 1960s, but we are finding ways to promote co-operation,” the PM told Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts, Asia news editor Richard Stone, and India correspondent Pallava Bagla, during an interview at his residence.
In the course of the interview he said more money has to be earmarked for the education sector, particularly for higher education. Here, the PM was referring to his pledge last month to double the nation’s R&D spending to US$8 billion a year by 2017.
“We are going to increase the number of what we call innovation universities. So I am confident that the landscape of higher education in India will change enormously in the next 5 to 10 years.”
At the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata last year, the PM urged for India to produce more Nobel laureates and patents.
“Our real problem is quality teaching staff. We are trying to induce more people to go for Ph.D. degrees in science and technology. I think we are making some impact, but not as fast as we need in order to meet the needs of our higher education system. Therefore, we must also find innovative means to draw upon the Indians working in the universities abroad, particularly in the United States, to find some time to spend teaching in our country,” he told the magazine.
Apart from education, the PM said that India needs to pay a lot more attention to the development of agriculture.
“We need to pay a lot more attention to the development of our agriculture. That will accelerate the tempo of rural development, which will help to increase the opportunities for our scientists to work in rural areas in development of water-management technologies, in development of environment-friendly technologies, and also communicable diseases,” he said.
PM Singh said the Indian agricultural research system could be made more productive in tackling problems which he described as “ushering in a second green revolution.”
“We have difficulties in increasing the productivity of dry land agriculture. That means technologies which will save water and technologies which will conserve energy also should get a lot more attention,” he said.
“We have to pay a lot more attention to R&D, tackling the problems of communicable diseases. We are victims of a double whammy. There are diseases which are peculiar to developing countries, but there are also diseases, which I think know no level of development, and in both these areas we have opportunities,” he said.
He said the large amount of money being spent on India’s space sector had produced beneficial effects. But, he added that more needs to be done.
“I think people will see space technology also as a new way of dealing with the ancient scourges of poverty, ignorance, and disease,” he said.
“We have a plan which will be launched from April for the next 5 years. Our effort will be to increase gradually the proportion of money spent on R&D and at the same time create a system of incentives which will induce the private sector to increase their spending on science and technology.”
Source: Science Magazine.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.