Rid science, tech of red tape: Scientists
As a new year's wish, 32 scientists, all holding high posts at research institutes and laboratories, have written to the Prime Minister and asked him to "free" the management of science and technology from the thickets of bureaucracy.
Stating that science, technology and innovation were vital for India's progress, scientists, headed by Bharat Ratna awardee CNR Rao, also the scientific advisor to the PM, have sent "an earnest appeal" to make "a serious effort to promote innovation and research". A part of their note says, "Eliminate bureaucracy which dominates the management of science and technology today so that the sector is freed from serious impediments."
Five suggestions have been made by some of the finest Indian scientists such as R Chidambaram, Mustansir Barma, P Balaram, P Rama Rao, M M Sharma, R A Mashelkar, Goverdhan Mehta, Devang Khakhar and Roddam Narasimha. The letter, a copy of which is with TOI, is a wake-up call drawing attention to the fact that international competition in science and technology has not just grown, but has become severe. Global Innovation Index 2013 puts India at the 66th position among 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 letter says.
Hinting at China's achievements, the SAC-PM felt India's pace was not satisfactory. "Some of our neighbouring countries have invested much more in people, institutions and infrastructure, and harvested the benefits of science, technology and innovation (STI) to achieve dramatic economic growth and provide for better education and healthcare, and have moved ahead rapidly towards becoming members of the developed world," the letters said.
Among the other recommendations, this scientific body, which gives direction to the country, has said a few national universities, which will give a special place to STI, besides covering various branches of sciences and humanities, be set up.
The other submissions included private participation in research, including an increase in investment in science and technology and education, and the creation of an ecosystem that nurtures science-led innovation and an economic policy that encourages interactions among science, technology and industry.
Else, the letter warns, India will remain spectators to a world that will be progressing at a fast pace in economic, social and education sectors. "There is every reason to believe that the science and technology sector will gladly bear the increased responsibility needed today."
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