India behind China in sci-tech workforce

By siliconindia   |   Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 06:00 Hrs
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Kolkata- Top Indian scientist has admitted publicly that it will take 163 years to match China's science and technology workforce of 850,000. Gangan Pratap, Chief Scientist, Center for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation made a startling revelation that if Beijing were to freeze the 850,000 strong scientific workforces, India, which produces 4,500 science doctorates annually would be at par with China only in 2170 AD. reported The Telegraph. The Indian science and technology workforce is only 115,000, which is roughly one-eight of China. Significantly, both countries are nuclear-armed and are the two most-populated countries in the world. Commenting on Prathap's revelation, C. N. Rao, chief scientific adviser to India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, told the English daily, "We are lagging very far behind China. The biggest problem India will face in the next decade or so is a human resource crunch in science and technology." At present, China's scientific workforce is a staggering 850,000, it produces 40,000 fresh doctorates each year, its per capita scientific research spending is $12.15 and its share of global research publications is five per cent. In India the corresponding figures are 115,000, 4500, $3.53 and 1.9 per cent respectively. Blaming the brain drain for India's plight, Rao added, "There are several reasons for the looming crisis. Some of the best talent is picked up by the US, Europe and even some Asian countries." He said some effects of the talent drain away from science might already be visible. "India's share of global research publications in science has dropped to unbelievably low levels", he alleged. "Mine is a very optimistic estimate because many Indian scientists retire and many doctorates go abroad or migrate to non-research careers", added Prathap, a leading expert in aerospace engineering mathematics. Studies indicate that research publications from India account for less than 2 per cent of research papers worldwide. The federal government's department of science and technology had earlier this year announced plans to invest up to Rs 1,350 crore over the next five years to attract fresh talent into science, offering five-year job guarantees to doctorate students. But Rao said he's worried the government hasn't been able to ease the stranglehold of the bureaucracy over appointments and the release of funds--even when the funds have been approved by the highest decision-making agencies.