India to double allocation for science: PM

December 3rd, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghBangalore, Dec 3 (IANS) India proposes to double the fund allocation for science and technology, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here Wednesday and asked academicians to prepare a blueprint to make basic sciences and mathematics the preferred subjects for children.He was speaking after dedicating to the nation the International Centre for Materials Science (ICMS), established at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) at Jakkur on the outskirts of Bangalore. He also inaugurated the C.N.R. Rao Hall of Science at JNCASR.

He also announced that the government proposes to establish a National Science and Engineering Research Board on the lines of the National Science Foundation in the US.

“The board will be set up as an autonomous body to promote basic research in science and engineering. It will provide unfettered financial assistance to researchers, academic institutions, research laboratories and industrial concerns,” he said.

The prime minister said the government proposed to double the financial allocation for science and technology from one percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to two percent.

In the 10th Five-Year Plan (2002-07) the allocation for science and technology was around Rs.252 billion.

“What we need now is a blueprint for the effective and creative utilisation of these funds. The blueprint should completely transform Indian science. The blueprint should try to make basic sciences and mathematics the preferred discipline of our children,” Manmohan Singh stressed.

He hailed the success of India’s first unamanned moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, which blasted off from the Sriharikota space port in Andhra Pradesh Oct 22.

“The moon mission has filled the nation with pride and has proved that our scientists are second to none. I call upon all the researchers, faculty and students associated with the institute (ICMS) to dedicate themselves to building a top class research centre not only in India, but in the world,” Manmohan Singh said.

“I am delighted to declare the ICMS and C.N.R Rao Hall of Science open today. JNCASR is an institute of excellence that is extensively and seriously promoting the growth and development of various disciplines of science and research works,” the prime minister said.

Manmohan Singh said Indian universities and research institutes should be revitalised to make India’s scientific community compete with the rest of the world.

ICMS, a first of its kind institute in the country, provides global research opportunities and support international exchange and collaboration programmes in the field of materials science.

The Hall of Science is aimed at making the science learning easier for children. It has a lecture hall, laboratory space for children and facilities for producing multimedia and other scientific packages.

C.N.R. Rao, founder-president of JNCASR and internationally renowned scientist, said: “The Hall of Science will promote various science education activities and make it possible to carry them out systematically over a long time frame.”

JNCASR was established in 1989 by the government to commemorate the birth centenary of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who encouraged the growth and development of the country’s premier scientific and research institutions.

Over the years, JNCASR has emerged as one of the premier research institutes in the country, drawing national and international recognition. It has established itself as a prominent scientific hub of growing importance in the areas relating to material science, biology and fluid mechanics.

Currently, around 200 students are pursuing their research and postgraduate courses in the Institute in its various departments.

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