Will This One Be Successful?
The science policy which was unveiled by the Indian Science Congress at Kolkata, was met with mixed responses from the science fraternity as well as other ministries.
The science policy of 2003 blatantly promised a raise in investments in science and developments with targets of improving investments from one percent to two percent, however when the target for the next decade is the same as the last it shows the gaps in Indian policy making.
Dr. Manmohan Singh has always talked about the importance of nuclear power, GM produce, and has also said that India is among the top five nations in terms of output in scientific publications. He also said that India looks forward to creating lucrative careers in science and research.
Some key points outlined in the policy are PPP (Public private partnership) participation for the commercial use of science, setting up academic institutes and aiming towards becoming one of the top five global scientific powers.
It is considered that science, technology and innovation make a country better. However India is primarily known for its labor force, considering our population.
It becomes difficult then to mechanize processes here, as our population numbers demand that we utilize them. It is essential to harness science for the development of this class in the society. Converting India from an agrarian country to an industrialized one was always on the agenda, however, reforms in agriculture are necessary to move forward and at least become self-sufficient since food security is a problem that is burgeoning along with our population.
One might think, science as a subject is seen as the prerogative of the elite and luminous minded. Changing this mindset is really what is necessary.
Premier educational institutes provide infrastructure and amenities, however a research friendly environment is something these institutes haven’t been able to provide. And this is definitely not because of a talent crunch; Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the recent Indian Nobel Laureate is an example of the kind of talent India has.
This ambitious policy looks at various problems, however, the reason for its failure for the last decade is a failure in the bureaucratic set up. Politicians and bureaucrats hold a tight hand over matters of science and technology. The entire funding is under their control. Scams and corrupted practices have been one of the many problems that India needs to tackle, for a long time.
Jawaharlal Nehru was the initiator of these reforms and encouraged Indians to study science, and technology. Since then India has emerged as a hub for Information and Technology, developed world class academic institutes and has pioneered projects like the green revolution.
So let’s hope that this science, technology and innovation policy does not go wrong like the one in 2003.
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