Govt to push industry to pitch in 1% of GDP for S&T promotion
Bangalore: The Central government is in a dialogue with public and private industries to contribute funds equivalent to one percent of the country's GDP to promote science and technology in the 12th Plan (April 2012-March 2017), Planning Commission member (Science) K Kasturirangan said Thursday.
Addressing the 5th edition of 'Bangalore Nano' conference and exhibition here, he said currently the expenditure on science and technology is 0.9 percent of GDP and quoted the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying that he would like to boost it to two percent but with "certain conditionalities".
"Government is willing to go up to one percent provided (an additional) one percent comes from the private sector and public sector in terms of research inputs," said Kasturirangan, a former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
So, there is a dialogue in process with eminent scientist Prof C N R Rao, Chairman of Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, playing a key role in bringing both public and private industry into an arrangement with Government for that.
Government wants the industries to be a stakeholder in promoting science and technology, offer "matching funds" (one percent of GDP) and encourage research in the country, he said.
Kasturirangan said there are several models that are in the process of being examined, to boost spending on science and technology right up to two percent of the GDP, which he termed as a "distinct possibility" for the 12th plan.
He further said, India would have "aggressive collaboration" with many foreign countries and agencies in expanding the country's own role in the area of cutting edge of science and technology.
Prof C N R Rao on the occasion also spoke about the "exciting and amazing" developments in the area of nano science and technology, and referred to "nano nose", a tool developed in Israel to diagnose breast cancer.
He said people with breast cancer breathe out "unique molecules" which is detected by nano nose, a tool that's in final stage of trial in the Jewish state. He also touched upon research in the US, where scientists are working on targeting cancer cells through "localisation" using nano particles and burning them (such cells).
Prof Rao, Chairman of Vision Group on Science and Technology and Nanotechnology, Government of Karnataka, expressed displeasure over absence of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Science and Technology Minister Anand Asnotikar at the inaugural function of the three-day annual event.
"It bothers me", he said but added that the Government this time has "good excuse" as "these are days of mourning" in respect of former Prime Minister I K Gujral, who died recently.
He said Shettar called him to say that since the Assembly session is on, he would not be able to come but Asnotikar would participate.
"But the Science Minister is not there", Rao said and asked Secretary in the Department of IT, BT and S&T, to convey to the Science Minister that "what he has done is not correct."
"Next time, we will think twice before inviting these people", he said, noting that Ministers don't show up to such functions "year after year" and as a scientist, he wants to record his displeasure.
But he lavishly praised the Karnataka government, saying it's the only state which supports science in the country and he wants to convey "thanks" to it. "I can't believe it. How come Karnataka which can't clear garbage (in Bangalore) can do this (promote science). It's amazing, extraordinary".
He also said India needs people who have passion to do things.
"What India required is a bunch of nuts, crazy fellows who are really crazy about doing something...Who are really mad. There are shortage of mad people (people with passion). There are too many normal people in Bangalore".
Bangalore Nano national award was presented to Prof. G U Kulkarni, Chemistry & Physics of Materials Unit and DST Unit on nano science, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research here, for his tremendous contribution in the field of nanotechnology.
According to the Karnataka's Department of IT, BT and S&T, the event would focus on a range of issues pertaining to research, technology development, skills requirement, regulatory and governance structure and R&D, among others.
More than 160 international and Indian companies are participating in the event, it said.