India must spend 2% GDP on science: Manmohan

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17MANMOHAN_SINGWhile announcing a Neutrino-based Observatory in Tamil Nadu at a cost of about Rs. 1,450 crores and National Mission on High Performance Computing with an outlay of Rs. 4,500 crores, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that India would have to spend two per cent of its gross domestic product on science and technology.

In his inaugural speech at the 101st Indian Science Congress session at the University of Jammu, Prime Minister said that the research, study and practice of science and technology had assumed paramount importance in the independent India as the country’s first Prime Minister Jawharlal Nehru had a deep commitment and passion for achieving growth and development through science and technology.

“I am also happy to say that there is evidence of rejuvenation of research in Indian universities. Global surveys this year have put Punjab University at the top of Indian institutions of higher learning. Government departments like Space, Atomic Energy and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research have taken important steps forward to establish academies and build backward linkages with our universities in the last ten years, thus enabling cross-fertilization of ideas”, Prime Minister told a gathering of over 7,000 scientists drawn from all over the country and abroad.

Dr. Singh added: “To do science, someone must pay for it. We must increase our annual expenditure on science and technology to at least 2% of our 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 Korean industry is indeed very significant. I am happy to say that our Department of Biotechnology has activated private public partnerships in R&D in biotechnology. I appeal to the corporate sector to join hands with the government in realizing the goals that we have set for more our nation.”

“A few years ago, at the Science Congress in Visakhapatnam, I announced a new scheme to attract talent into science studies and research. This scheme, known as INSPIRE, has today emerged as one of our Government’s most highly acclaimed and recognized programmes. It has rewarded more than one million children and generated over 400 patent-grade innovations from our young Indians”, Dr. Singh said.

Prime Minister said that some of the mission-oriented agencies had made the country truly proud. “This was evident most recently when our Geo-Stationary Launch Vehicle, powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine, soared majestically into space a month ago. I congratulate our scientists in ISRO for having mastered the technology of liquid hydrogen rocket engines. The launches of our Moon and Mars Missions are testimony to the giant strides we are now making in Space for which our Space Scientists deserve genuine credit,” he said.

Prime Minister was proud to say that India currently occupied an enviable position in the field of atomic energy and high-energy physics. The Indian nuclear scientists, he said, were attracting global interest in their effort to develop a Fast Breeder Reactor. I expect the prototype under construction in Kalpakkam to be completed this year. It will be a great day for Indian science and technology because we will be one of the few countries in the world with leadership in a completely new area of nuclear technology that can contribute non-polluting electrical power.”

“Our Government has invested in many areas to ensure that India remains at the cutting edge of science. I am happy to announce another National Mission on High Performance Computing with an outlay of Rs. 4500 crores. We are also considering establishment of a National Geographical Information System with an outlay of about Rs. 3000 crores. A National Mission on Teaching to enhance the esteem of our teachers is also being launched”, Dr Singh said. He also announced the establishment of a Neutrino-based Observatory in Tamil Nadu at a cost of about Rs 1450 crores.

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