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Manmohan Singh calls for more investment in R and D

Bhubaneshwar, Tue, 03 Jan 2012 ANI

Bhubaneshwar, Jan 3 (ANI): Emphasizing that the Central Government is committed to boost research and development in science, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said that this can only be achieved if industry, which contributes about one third of the total Research and Development (R and D) expenditure today, increases its contribution.


Addressing at the 99th Annual Session of the Indian Science Congress here, Dr. Singh said: "We must aim to increase the total R and D spending as a percentage of GDP to at least two per cent by the end of the XII Plan Period from the current level of about one per cent. This can only be achieved if industry, which contributes about one-third of the total R and D expenditure today, increases its contribution significantly."


"I sincerely believe that Public Sector Undertakings, particularly those in the energy sector should also play a major role in this expansion," he added.


Affirming that at present, publicly funded R and D is skewed in favour of fundamental rather than applied research, Dr. Singh said: " It is easier to attract industrial funds into applied research areas and a set of principles should be formulated to push such funding and to drive Public-Private-Partnerships in Research and Development."


"The Biopolis in Singapore is an interesting example of a cluster approach that has brought together 2,000 scientists and researchers in the area of bio-sciences from public laboratories and private industry in one place. In India, we have our own Open Source Drug Discovery project, which is a 'virtual' cluster enabling the creation of affordable and effective solutions which would not be likely with a conventional 'in-lab' approach," he added.


Asserting that the science should focus on betterment of weaker sections of the society, Dr. Singh called for investment in research and innovation adding that expenditure on research will be more than double over the next five years.


"The INSPIRE scheme is doing well and is also responding to our concerns about inclusiveness. The enrolment of weaker sections in the scheme is good and 49.6 per cent of the INSPIRE awardees are women. More than 60 per cent of INSPIRE fellows pursuing doctoral research happen to be women," he said.


"Over the past few decades, India's relative position in the world of science had been declining and we have been overtaken by countries like China. Things are changing but we cannot be satisfied with what has been achieved. We need to do much more to change the face of Indian science. We must strengthen the supply chain of the science sector. While it is true that science and engineering continue to attract some of our best students, many of them later opt for other careers because of relatively poorer prospects in science," he added.


Stating that we must also make scientific output more relevant to our stage of development, Dr. Singh said is said that science is often pre-occupied with problems of the rich, ignoring the enormous and in many ways more challenging problems of the poor and the under-privileged. As we head into the Twelfth Plan, there are some objectives we must try to achieve in the Science and Technology sector," he added. (ANI)


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