Expenditure on science and technology should be 2 per cent of GDP, says PM

Written by PTI | Jammu | Updated: Feb 3 2014, 22:09pm hrs
PM Manmohan SinghPrime Minister Manmohan Singh said India has occupied an 'enviable position' in the fields of atomic energy, space and earth science.
Pitching for more funds to promote science, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country's annual expenditure on science and technology should be at least two per cent of the GDP.

"To do science, someone must pay for it. We must increase our annual expenditure on science and technology to at least 2 per cent of GDP. This has to come from both government and industry.

"In countries such as South Korea, where a high percentage of the GDP goes to science, the contribution of industry is significant," Singh noted.

In his inaugural address at the 101st Indian Science Congress here, the Prime Minister also said that India is joining the CERN, a premiere European Organisation for Nuclear Research, as an associate member.

"India will partner with international scientific community in establishment of the world's major R&D projects. In the Gravitational Wave Experiment, India intends to host the third detector.A Neutrino-based Observatory is proposed to be established in Tamil Nadu at a cost of about Rs 1450 crore.India is also joining the CERN as an associate member," Singh said

Lauding Indian scientists working in the fields of atomic energy, space and earth science, the Prime Minister said India has occupied an "enviable position" in these fields.

"Indian nuclear scientists are attracting global interest in their efforts to develop a Fast Breeder reactor.I expect the prototype under construction in Kalpakkam to be completed this year.We will be one of the few countries with leadership in a completely new area of nuclear technology that can contribute to a non-polluting world.

"The launch of our Moon and Mars Mission are a testimony of the giant strides we are making in space.We have now the ability to issue alerts within 13 minutes of a tsunami-genic event," he noted.

Recognising the role of scientific inputs in providing accessible and affordable healthcare programmes, the government has established a new department for Health Education and Research, the Prime Minister said.

"Efforts to discover drugs for neglected diseases are beginning to bear fruit. A Rota Virus vaccine, a new drug for malaria and many other leads emanating from collaborative research are all reassuring developments", he said.

"The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has leveraged Open Source Innovation for discovery of drugs and found a lead for TB. CSIR has also ventured into the new world of data-intensive discovery and large data systems," he said.

Calling upon the scientific community to take a lead in the global erana, Prime Minister said, "India needs to leverage the ability of modern science to deliver value to society. We must also seek global leadership in at least some research and development areas".

"Affordable innovations for human healthcare, sustainable agriculture, clean energy and total solutions for water-related challenges are some areas where Indian science can seek global leadership", he said.

As the country is expected to have the largest population of youth entering stepping into the world of higher education, Singh said it was important to give more attention to science education.

"We must find ways of encouraging them to take up the right path that will provide them not only productive employment but also excitement in their profession," he said, adding the Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education has more than doubled in ten years and now stood at 19 per cent.