Expenditure on science and technology needs to be hiked: PM

Last Updated: Monday, February 3, 2014 - 18:42

Jammu: 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.
"Our decision to set up a new Ministry of Earth Sciences following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and to invest in world-class tsunami forewarning systems in 2007 has been amply rewarded", the Prime Minister said.

He said the country`s advances in meteorology were evident during the cyclone in Odisha, when "we received accurate forecasts of landfall point that were more accurate than the forecasts of well known international bodies."

"I would also like to see continuous improvement in our monsoon prediction capability through the recently launched Monsoon Mission so that we can avert the kind of calamities that we saw in Uttarakhand last year", he said.

The Prime Minister also announced a National Mission on High Performance Computing with an outlay of Rs 4500 crore.

"We are also considering establishment of a National Geographical Information System with an outlay of about Rs 3000 crore. A National Mission on teaching to enhance the esteem of our teachers is also being launched," Singh said.

Batting for Bt crops, Singh said while safety must be ensured we should not succumb to unscientific prejudices.

"To ensure food security and to improve and water productivity, we have to launch a national drive for an ever-green revolution."

Singh also announced institution of 25 Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowships, under which eminent scientists from abroad will be invited to work in India for 12 months over a period of three years.

Under this initiative, the government will give 1 lakh USD for three years to the fellows. The government has already selected five scientists, who are also the Fellows of the Royal Society, London, under this scheme.

The Prime Ministeralso urged scientists to learn from the past and connect with the present and focus on the future.

"Our basic research must be directed at new discoveries with innovative efforts to develop affordable solutions.Above all, our science should be a driving force propelling India as a resurgent civilisation which holds out both hope and opportunity," he said.

This is the first time that the Indian Science Congress is being held in Jammu.

PTI

First Published: Monday, February 3, 2014 - 11:58

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