PM calls for private investment in science research

December 13th, 2008 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) Stressing that only 112 out of every million Indians are involved in scientific research, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday asked the private sector to spend more on research and development (R&D).“At present, barely one-fourth of R&D expenditure in our country comes from the private sector. The private sector has also to play its due role,” Manmohan Singh said here after launching a scholarship scheme to attract students to pursue science as a career.

“Within industrial R&D expenditure, nearly 40 percent comes from one sector alone - drugs and pharmaceuticals. It will be difficult to sustain the competitiveness of our diversified industrial base unless these figures show considerable improvement in the years to come,” he remarked.

Manmohan Singh said an “integrated and efficient knowledge chain should build strong synergies between our industrial and research establishments both in the public and the private sectors.”

He said the number of full-time equivalent professionals in the R&D sector in India “per million of population is about 112. The corresponding figure for other major countries is many times higher”.

He, however, said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had made “very significant investments in upgrading our education infrastructure to cope with this projected demand”.

“But clearly much more needs to be done and will be done.”

The prime minister said that his government was also looking at innovative ways of multiplying the reach of education infrastructure.

“We are putting in place an Integrated National Knowledge Network that would have nodes at all major institutions of higher education and learning. This network would help our institutions of higher learning to connect with each other and to carry on relevant interdisciplinary dialogue.”

The scholarship programme, called Inspire (’Innovation in science pursuit for inspired research’), is a brainchild of the science and technology ministry and targets to reach one million students and teachers in the next few years.

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