Special Correspondent

IT boom taking them away to services sector: Aatre

‘Research in hardcore technology needed to take forward R&D’

‘Increase investment in research’

BANGALORE: The former Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence V.K. Aatre has stressed the need for luring talented youngsters from the Information Technology-related service sector to the hardcore engineering technology field to provide a boost to the country’s research and development scenario.

He was inaugurating a three-day international conference on “polymeric materials in power engineering” organised by the Central Power Research Institute in Bangalore, on Thursday.

Dr. Aatre said that the country’s wealth would fundamentally depend on its hardcore technology. “We cannot sustain merely on service technology in the long run,” he said.

It was not possible to take forward the country’s research and development (R&D) sector unless brilliant youngsters took up research in hardcore technology. But of late, the boom in the IT sector was taking away talented youngsters to the services field, Dr. Aatre said.

Dr. Aatre said that the country’s R&D scenario was like an “island of excellence amidst a sea of mediocrity.”

That was because there were some exceptionally talented individuals who were pursuing research seriously. But the investment in R&D was less than one per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, he said.

Dr. Aatre said that a particular university in China had 90 members in the faculty of micro-electronics while there were roughly 30 micro-electronics faculty members in all the universities put together in India.

He called for increasing investments in research and also taking steps to increase the number of people who were taking to research.

CPRI Director-General A.K. Tripathy explained how the advent of modern technology had changed the power transmission and distribution scenario.

Indian power experts were holding talks with China to set up high capacity 1,200-kV AC transmission lines by the end of this Five Year Plan, he said. Edward A. Cherney of the University of Waterloo in Canada delivered the keynote address.

About 200 delegates, including 40 from foreign countries, are taking part in the conference that intends to facilitate research collaboration between polymer and electrical engineering experts in the field of R&D institutions, industries and academia.

An exhibition on polymeric materials in power engineering has also been organised along with the conference. The exhibition features polymeric insulation materials that are being used as alternatives to conventional porcelain insulation materials.

A CPRI expert said that polymeric insulation materials would be easy to handle as they were ten times lighter than porcelain materials.