February 22nd, 2017
India’s spending on scientific research has been less than 1% of GDP for the past two decades. However, despite the unenthusiastic funding, Indian scientists have endeavoured admirably. India was ranked 13th globally according to a number of papers published in top journals. Our scientists’ accomplishments are especially pronounced when it comes to space research, all thanks to ISRO.
While successive governments have promised to increase spending on research, not much has changed. The government should increase spending on science and research. India should become a hub for innovation and a global leader in research.
Recently, we asked The Logical Indian community how the Indian government could increase research funding and improve our country’s science standing. Below are a few of the ideas presented by our readers.
- India must set up well-funded research centres. These centres must be independent of universities. The priority of these centers should be to attract Nobel laureates as mentors, young talent as researchers, and industry stalwarts for practical application of the research. Moreover, the researcher’s position should be a tenured contract for 3-5 years with a focus on results. Universities professors should be kept away from these centres. If they intend to join, they should do so in a full-time position. When you focus exclusively on research and build a self-sustaining centre, you can spend less than 1% and still come out with outstanding results.
- More spending does not mean better quality research. There has to be a mechanism in place to direct the money to achieve results.
- Make it compulsory to choose at least two retired scientists as Members of Parliament. With this, the scientists may remind the importance of organisations like ISRO as and when the government forgets about them.
- Educate the public, especially potential investors, about the importance of scientific investment; this will also educate the politicians about the subject.
- We could introduce a separate budget for research. As we know that railway budget has been included in the Union budget – so this could give more chances of introducing a separate budget for science and research.
- We have to remove all the religious subsidies be it given on mandirs or mosques or churches or any other such religious institution. It is time that we behave in a true sense of secular nation.
- We should stop making the temples tax-free. Taxing religious institutions their fair share will procure much dividend. This money could be spent on research.
- We have to set up institutions like National Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhubaneswar and IISERs and fill them up with good-quality faculty from India and abroad.
- Research scholars should be given more respect by increase of fellowship up to the level of anyone working in an MNC. Very few people go for research in India because we are a poor nation and many students have responsibilities of their families too. Moreover, they are given peanuts after so much hard and smart work they put in when it comes to research.
- Simply by increasing the spending to more than 1%.