Views have been expressed at various fora on decline in interest in science sector due to various socioeconomic reasons including rapid advancement in Information Technology. However, the interest in scientific research and development activities, supporting strategic sectors like the Indian Space Programme, are on the increase matching with the programmatic requirements. The rapid advancement in the Information Technology has complemented the research activities in Science through access to various digital repositories / tools etc. India's performance in science sector is promising and impressive in recent years which is evident from the fact that India’s position in research publications has improved from 10th position in 2006 to 9th position in 2010. India has emerged as the third major country in nano science and 5th in the world in Chemistry with respect to scientific publications.
Government has recognized that a strong foundation in science is essential in building excellence in technology, propelling economic growth and prosperity. The Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is a planned program to attract talented youth to study science and to pursue careers with research. It has already engaged more than 12.3 lakhs of talented youth of the country over the age groups of 10 to 32 starting with excitements of science and attempts to promote a science aware citizenry through an Award scheme, Scholarship scheme, Fellowship scheme and extends to INSPIRE faculty scheme for providing a research career opportunity. The Children Science Congress held annually provides a unique opportunity to school children to stimulate scientific temperament and learning the scientific methodology for observation, collection of data, analysis and arriving at conclusions and presenting the findings in various fields of science and engineering including physics, chemistry and medical sciences. Meeting of Nobel laureates & students in Lindau, Germany is another program of DST to expose Indian students to latest developments in the field of science and engineering. In addition, there are a number of schemes / programs of the Government to attract students towards science and encourage scientific research. These include Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY), National Science Olympiad Programme, Young Scientists Fellowship, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowships (SPMF), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Program on Youth for Leadership in Science (CPYLS), Junior/Senior Research Fellowships (JRF/SRF), Research Associateship etc. CSIR Innovation Award for School Children is a special Invention Award to create awareness, interest and motivation for intellectual property amongst children.
Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Shri S.Jaipal Reddy gave this information in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha today.