National funds for research and development are poised to double from the current 1% of the GDP to 2%, according to India’s science and technology minister Prithviraj Chavan. The next ten years, in fact, have been labeled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the ‘decade of innovation’ following which the government plans to focus on Research & Development efforts to translate lab research into product and process innovations that benefit the masses.
At an annual meet of non-resident Indians last week, which included scientists in good numbers, Chavan did concede that challenges in science and technology were tougher now since scientists have to find solutions to myriad problems ranging from energy security, food security, water availability & quality and affordable health care to terrorism and internal security.
The government shoulders about 75% of the entire R&D spend and has been urging private players to chip in more in this area.
Echoing the Prime Minister’s views at the Indian science Congress, Chavan sent out some positive signals to the Indian diaspora scientists urging them to collaborate with scientific institutions in their home country.
Looks like the year has begun on a positive note for Indian science.