If the top-10 place eludes India in global ranking for science performance — whether in innovation or publications, it is because of “subcritical funding” the discipline receives, according to the scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, C.N.R. Rao, who has been named for Bharat Ratna.
Funding for science was “marginal,” at an average just “20 per cent” of what was needed for specific projects, and “it never comes on time,” he told journalists at his residence at the Indian Institute of Science here on Sunday.
For a brief moment, Professor Rao lost his cool and criticised politicians for having given “so little.” “But for the money that science receives, India, I suppose, is doing well,” he said.
India’s ranking in innovation was poor, at 66 among 140 countries. “I think India has to learn to use the latest results of science and technology for innovation,” he said. The government appeared to be giving more importance to sport. “The future of India is secure if it invests in basic science and science education. Only countries that have advanced scientifically have made progress, while those who neglected it are not known.” Investment in science should be raised from 1 per cent of the GDP to 6 per cent if India had to keep pace with China and South Korea, whose high investments in science was reflected in innovation.