PM calls for technology-led accelerated growth
Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 07:00 Hrs
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday called for attracting the best minds to science and promoting technology-led accelerated growth in the country. The biggest challenge India faces in science and technology today is supply of skilled scientists and technologists, said the prime minister at a function to give out the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2006, named in honour of one of the architects of India's nuclear programme. "On the supply side, we have to enhance the supply of skilled scientists and technologists. This needs to be done through a judicious balance of expansion, inclusion and excellence. On the demand side, we have to promote technology-led accelerated inclusive growth," said Singh. India has only 157 scientists and engineers per million people involved in research and development. This compares poorly against South Korea, which has 50 times more and the US and Japan with 30 times more, he said. Similarly, "China has overtaken India in the number of scientific research papers published in the internationally reviewed journals. In fact they publish three times our numbers," Manmohan Singh said. Urging for a revamp of the education system, he said it was a matter of concern that the best students were not taking up science as a career option. "These disciplines must be made more attractive to children and the youth, and towards this end we have to redesign school and college education." India is in the process of setting up new centres of scientific learning that would help to promote research and development, he said. He commended the fact that hardly any among the 400 scientists who had received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards since 1961 had migrated to pursue careers abroad. Stressing the need to create an environment conducive to the pursuit of excellence, Manmohan Singh also focused on the need for the world community to find new pathways to sustain adequate incentives for the generation of new knowledge and also make fruits of this knowledge available at affordable prices to the poorer countries. "The challenge ahead is to ensure that the evolving global economy is so managed that it promotes the interests of all countries, rich and poor. The time is ripe to evolve concerted strategies to make globalisation, and the knowledge revolution that is propelling it, a win-win situation for the entire humankind," he said. "India ought to be in the forefront of intellectual efforts to find meaningful and purposeful solutions to these global concerns." Drawing attention to the growing privatisation of science and technology in the advanced developed countries, the prime minister said multinational corporations are playing an increasing role in the generation of new knowledge in areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, IT and energy.