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Major plans to kindle scientific temper of students: Ramasami

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T. Ramasami Photo: K. Ganesan
T. Ramasami Photo: K. Ganesan

R. Sairam

Nobel laureates to address students during summer camp

MADURAI: Major investments are going to be made in the field of science and technology in the 11th Plan to raise the standards to global level, T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, said here recently.

In an interview to The Hindu, he spoke about various projects that would be implemented to ignite scientific temper among children. "A summer camp will be organised for top rankers in Standard X from all the 38 boards across the country, where an opportunity to interact with 60 Nobel laureates and 200 eminent personalities beckons them. This camp will be conducted at 100 places so that children get motivated to pursue science," he said.

A grant of Rs. 1 lakh would be provided to 10,000 Standard XII students, who continued to study science in their higher studies.

In the next five years, cash awards would be presented to around 10 lakh children in the age group of 10 to 17 years under the programme `Inspire' Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspiring Research. "The scholarships for postgraduates will also be raised," he said.

All these measures would incur considerable amount of expenditure and the department had sought sufficient allocation for the same.

"The U.S. spends $300 billion a year on Research and Development, Japan, $124 bn and China has announced that it is going to spend $130 bn this year. India currently spends about $5 bn and we constantly compare ourselves to China." It was obvious that the country needs to raise the investment in R&D to sustain the leadership gained at the global level in the current context.

Under a programme to rejuvenate universities, as many as 10 varsities and 50 more departments would be chosen to upgrade infrastructure to international standards. "As many as 896 departments from all over the country are already receiving funds from our department," Dr. Ramasami said.

In 1985, India occupied eighth position in international publications while at present it has slid down to 14th.

On any proposal to accelerate industrial development in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, he said that models of growth would vary according to the inherent strength of the regions.

"Low levels of investment that can generate high volumes of employment such as food processing can be considered. The low cost of lands in south should naturally attract more people to invest," Dr. Ramasami said.

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