Special Correspondent

The idea is to help researchers pursue innovative schemes

PhD is a must and processing of applications will be completed in six weeksDistinguished scientists take questions from othersMahyco chairman maintains that Bt cotton is beneficial to farmers

HYDERABAD: The Department of Science and Technology will liberalise the procedures under the Young Scientist Fast Track Project to enable more researchers to receive grants from the Government for innovative schemes to be completed in three years.

Interacting with young scientists during the 93rd Indian Science Congress, V.S. Ramamurthy, Secretary of the department, said that any young scientist who finished PhD could apply for the grant.

The processing would be completed in six weeks and seed funds given.

An amount of Rs. 3 lakhs would be given every year and Rs. 10 lakhs for three years.

The project should have definite objectives and not be open-ended.

Several distinguished scientists, including M.S. Swaminathan, CSIR Director-General R.A. Mashelkar, Ramamurthy, D. Balasubramanian, Nobel laureate Richard R. Ernst and World Food Prize winners answered queries from scientists.

"Don't ape the West''

Replying to a question on integrating social sciences with S & T, Prof. Ernst said that Indian researchers should not try to follow the Westerm model.

"We are committing all follies. Life has become superficial and motivated by monetary considerations. Develop some kind of Indian self-confidence".

To another query on whether Bt cotton was a boon or bane, with farmer spending high cost on seed, Chairman Mahyco, B.R. Barwale, said the acreage under Bt. cotton was increasing mainly because of its ability to reduce the use of pesticide.

He said the estimated production would be around 430 kg per hectare this year and go up to 600 kg when Bollguard-II would be introduced.

Later in a chat with reporters, he said the company was hopeful of making available Bollguard-II technology by next kharif after approval by the Government. The pricing controversy over royalty was created by vested interests. He maintained that it was benefiting farmers.

Earlier, delivering a public lecture on "Making high technology work for the poor," Dr. Mashelkar called for innovative technologies to create high-performance products at a low price so that the common man was benefited.

There was a need to attract best minds to work on the challenges that help in solving the problems of the poor.

The challenge was to make available, affordable, accessible and appropriate technologies.