Today's Paper

PM expresses concern over exodus of scientists

The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, browsing through the `Shaping of Indian Science' compendium, while the Karnataka Governor, T.N. Chaturvedi (left), the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Murli Manohar Joshi, and the ISRO Chairman, Kasturirangan (right), look on, at the 90th session of the Indian Science Congress in Bangalore on Friday. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, browsing through the `Shaping of Indian Science' compendium, while the Karnataka Governor, T.N. Chaturvedi (left), the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Murli Manohar Joshi, and the ISRO Chairman, Kasturirangan (right), look on, at the 90th session of the Indian Science Congress in Bangalore on Friday. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash  

Bangalore Jan. 3. The Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, today unveiled a new National Science and Technology Policy that seeks to infuse vitality into the S&T system so that it could squarely face the challenges of globalisation in terms of increasing restrictions on the sharing of knowledge among countries, with newer norms of intellectual property rights and technology and trade control regimes. He was inaugurating the 90th Indian Science Congress here.

The announcements were, however, not without a caveat. Mr. Vajpayee asked the scientific community to ``candidly'' recognise and address problems such as ``bureaucratisation'' of the research and development establishments. Emphasising that seniority should not displace merit and individualism should not replace teamwork, he expressed anguish that because of the bureaucratic culture in many S&T establishments, talented young scientists were moving over to non-scientific careers within the country, if not migrating to other countries.

``We need to examine why a career in science (in India) is not considered worthwhile by so many of our talented younger scientists. Whatever the reasons, we must face this issue squarely, by taking visible, concrete steps to give promising scientists and technologists the necessary opportunities, recognition, standing and adequate material compensation''.

He announced the institution of a Rs. 25 lakh India Science Award, the highest in the field of science and technology. A jury, including top scientists from abroad, would select the awardees. The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award, the present top recognition, carries a cash component of Rs. 2 lakhs.

The modalities would be worked out soon by the Indian Science Congress Association, which organises the annual science congress and which comprises top science administrators. The award would be presented every year.

Mr. Vajpayee called for greater effort to tap traditional knowledge and the scientific talent outside the formal S&T facilities.

The Union Minister for Science and Technology, Murli Manohar Joshi, said the new policy had been formulated keeping in view the rapid changes in the sector at the global level in recent times and expected acceleration in the coming years.

Recommended for you