Wednesday, November 22, 2006


IISER in South India Next Year and in Central India in 2008

National Science Foundation launch likley in April

Special Correspondent
Bill expected to be passed in the winter session of Parliament, says C.N.R Rao

THINK TANK: Chairman of Advisory Council to Prime Minister C.N.R Rao talking to Gen (Retd) K.V. Krishna Rao at the Nayudamma Memorial Lecture on Tuesday.

HYDERABAD: The National Science Foundation, being set up with an annual funding of Rs.1,000 crores to give a fillip to research and support institutes of excellence, is expected to begin functioning in April next.

Eminent scientist C.N.R. Rao told reporters on Tuesday, after delivering the `Dr. Y. Nayudamma Memorial Lecture' at the Administrative Staff College of India, that the Bill on the foundation was expected to be passed in the winter session of Parliament.

The Government has given the nod for establishing five centres on the lines of the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore. Two are to be set up this year in Kolkata and in Punjab with an investment of Rs. 500 crores each. Another IISc-type institute would come up in the South next year, followed by one in Central India in 2008.

Prof. Rao, who is the Chairman of the Science Advisory Council for the Prime Minister, stated that the council had recommended increased investment in education, to 6 per cent of the GDP, and to 2 per cent in science. The salaries of scientists needed to be improved to get best talent.

Delivering the lecture, he expressed concern at the decline in the country's contribution to world science from 8 to 10 per cent 15 years ago to 2.7 per cent now. "Unless we buck up, we will be in a worst situation", he warned. India's contribution was less than one per cent in the top one per cent of the cited research publications, while those from the US accounted for 63 per cent.

While universities had in the past contributed 50 to 60 per cent of the research, their share now had dwindled to a mere 5 per cent. The quantity of research produced by IITs was "pathetic". Prof. Rao observed that pre-eminence in science would determine pre-eminence in technology.

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