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Updated: January 21, 2013 02:36 IST

Centre to offer lucrative stints for Indian scientists

P. Sunderarajan
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An Indian woman seek autograph from Nobel prize winning Indian Scientist Venkataraman Ramakrishnan in London. A file photo.
An Indian woman seek autograph from Nobel prize winning Indian Scientist Venkataraman Ramakrishnan in London. A file photo.

They will spend time in teaching and doing scientific research in institutions

The Planning Commission is working on a scheme to get top Indian scientists working abroad spend some time doing teaching and research in scientific and technical research institutions in the country.

A top official in the Ministry of Science and Technology told The Hindu that a salient feature of the proposed scheme was that instead of being offered a job through the normal recruitment routes, scientists would be selected by an expert committee consisting of top Indian and international scientists and invited by the government to work here for short periods.

The selected scientists would be paid directly by the government through a special window and not by the institutions, where they would work. The remuneration is likely to be at least Rs. 55 lakh ($1,00,000). In addition, they would be offered fully furnished accommodation plus some relocation expenses and a certain amount as research grant. The scientists would also have the flexibility to choose as to when they want to take up the proposal and also the length of time they want to spend here.

Asked whether the offers were not way above the salaries and perks enjoyed by the scientists working here, the official said “we are not talking about people who are actively looking for a job here. We are talking about those scientists who already are in prestigious positions abroad, but want to do something for their motherland.”

He pointed out that China was able to attract over 1,000 of its scientists working abroad to return to their homeland for varying periods of time for taking up teaching and research assignments. Australia too recently came out with a similar scheme that provided positions at three times the normal remuneration for top class Australian scientists working abroad.

The Plan panel, he said was envisaging the selection of 25 scientists under the scheme to begin with, as a pilot project. The proposal was to increase it in stages to 100 scientists. The scientists would be allowed to and hire up to two research scholars of their choice to work with them.

The Planning Commission was also looking at making the scheme a joint activity with top corporates. The plan was to let them also offer such scholarships and let the scientists be associated with their laboratories.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Ahluwalia, who conceptualised the scheme, is holding a meeting with Secretaries of the various science departments here on Tuesday to firm up details.

The scheme is proposed to be called “National Jawaharlal Nehru Science Fellowship/ Professorships’’ programme. It is expected to cost Rs. 15 crore a year, including perks, but the official said, “injecting 25 top scientists into our institutions would have many positives in terms of impact on research and motivation of younger scientists.”

As an adjunct, the Plan panel is looking at the possibility of a similar scheme at Assistant Professor-level for younger less established scientists.

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This scheme is laudable, except for the fact that it should have another component, which is important.
This is to have a selected few reputed research Institutes under direct tutelege of an eminent scientist, who will be directing the research supervisors in these Institutes on management of resources needed to carry out research in the twenty first century.
Without this second component, the long term gains for the country, in research efficiency, is very much questionable.

from:  siddhartha dasgupta
Posted on: Jan 21, 2013 at 15:00 IST

Finally, a good move.

from:  Nazir Sumara
Posted on: Jan 21, 2013 at 10:38 IST

Its appreciable scheme and This is need of the time. Because, Still
now we are in technology transfer from developed countries. So,
indigenous technology is must to tackle global competition and
security of the nation.

Only by focused research we can achieve this.
My main concern in implementing the scheme is, There should not be any
political interference.

Lets think positive, and will start process immediately.

from:  Sakthivel G
Posted on: Jan 21, 2013 at 10:23 IST

This is a very good scheme that has been proposed. Instead of naming it
after Nehru, it will be better to name it after any Indian who has made
contributions to science/technology.

from:  Dave Romnathan
Posted on: Jan 21, 2013 at 00:38 IST

Main issue is the government and administrative (or IAS) interference. Government meddles into the IIT and AIIMS affairs which is not conducive to the genuine research.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Jan 20, 2013 at 17:10 IST

In many institutions in India research is being done to get another
degree like btech,m,tech which will help them in their career to get
promotions rather than working on problems which will have large
impact. The norms for granting a PHD degree should be made stricter
like publications should be in reputed journals. Unfortunately there
are too many junk journals which easily publish not so useful work
thereby people getting PHD degree easily. This is outright waste of
public money because most of people do research based on stipend given
by Govt of India. Also faculty in reputed govt institutions should be
hired on contract based and should be extended based on their
performance. Also every faculty should get grant from government
provided he has proven record in publications and he was able to get
grants from industrial bodies in past on a consistent basis. Only
these kind of faculty should be allowed to take phd students

from:  sreeram
Posted on: Jan 20, 2013 at 17:00 IST
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