Acknowledging that India has been “overtaken” by countries like China in the world of science, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh outlined an ambitious plan to "change the face" of science by doubling the outlay on research and development (R&D) by the end of the 12th Plan in 2017.
“Things are changing, but we need to do much more,” Singh said while inaugurating the 99th Indian Science Congress at the KIIT University campus on Tuesday. “We must aim to increase the total R&D spending as a percentage of GDP to 2% by the end of the 12th Plan period from the current level of about 0.9%. That can be achieved if the industry, which contributes only 25% of the total R&D expenditure, increases its contribution.”
Stressing on the need to push public-private partnership (PPP) in science, Singh cited investment in R&D, expansion of infrastructure, greater alignment of the sector with the nation’s development needs, greater research collaboration and creation of a new innovation ecosystem as some of the broad goals. “We need to look at ways of incentivising private R&D investment,” he said.
Singh also voiced concern over the number of women scientists remaining unemployed. At the conference, titled Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation - Role of Women, he underlined the need for transparency in selection procedures and gender audits.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, chief minister Naveen Patnaik prescribed Mahatma Gandhi's idea of “greater science” for development of villages. More than 15,000 delegates from India and abroad attended the event.