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Increase S&T investment, eliminate bureaucracy: Panel

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 23:00

New Delhi: Concerned over the country`s tardy progress in innovation and scientific research, the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister has "strongly recommended" increasing investment in S&T including higher education, especially from private sector, and "eliminating bureaucracy and outdated" procedures in the area.

At the same time, the Council has also suggested the creation of a strong innovation ecosystem which would include a policy that encourages strong interactions between S&T and industry.

This, the Council noted would help new Indian products and systems based on new ideas emerge in a competitive world market and the country emerges as a global leader.

"It is important that the private sector contributes significantly. Increase in private sector investment in R&D and its partnership with the public sector in translational research is crucial," the Council stated.

It noted that not only a mere increase in investment in S&T from the present roughly 1 per cent of the GDP to the promised 2 per cent of the GDP is needed, but also the moral and intellectual support of society as a whole is required.

The Council has also strongly stressed on the need to eliminate bureaucracy and outdated procedures which dominate the management of education and S&T today so that these sectors are freed from serious impediments.

"Governance reforms are badly needed in our universities, specially state universities which carry the excessive burden of affiliated colleges," a press statement of the Council said.
The Council also expressed concern on the fact that the country`s performance in higher education has also not been altogether satisfactory and India has very few institutions that can be found in the top category in international rankings.

Urging the government to identify and generously support major national S&T initiatives that can lead to game-changing solutions to the country`s pressing problems, the Council has also recommended support to outstanding individuals, groups and institutions with sufficient long-term funding so that they are able to contribute significantly and become internationally competitive.

The Council also noted that in the last few years India has begun to emerge as a more significant global player in many areas of science and technology after it improved its infrastructure substantially in the last two or three decades.
However, the Council said that while there were many positive changes in the S&T scenario, the rate of change could be faster.

"The Global Innovation Index 2013 places India at the 66th position amongst 142 nations. In scientific research, while India`s contribution to the global output has increased, it still remains only at a modest level with no sign of a major upward swing in quantity or quality," the statement of the Council said.

First Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 23:00

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