The Minister of State for Planning, Science &Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Ashwani Kumar refuted the charge that India is deficient in the field of research and development and it depends on foreign countries for help in this field.
The Minister stated that India has a strong independent base in Research and Development (R&D) in Science and Technology. India has been able to build up a capacity in a wide range of areas of modern technology, from software engineering to health biotechnology and the performance of our country in recent years is impressive and promising. Significant achievements have been made in the areas of nuclear and space science, electronics, IT and defence. India has partnered with other leading countries in mega projects like India-Japan beamline at the Photon Factory, KEK, Japan; Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), Germany; Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva; Elettra Synchrotron Facility at Trieste, Italy; India based Neutrino Observatory (INO) etc. India’s position globally in the field of scientific research and development, as measured by the number of research papers published, has improved from 13th position in 1996 to 12th position in 2001 and 10th position in 2006 and further to 9th position in 2010 as per the Scopus International database. In 2010 India was ranked at 6th in terms of publications in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. In case of research in chemistry, India ranks 5th in the world with respect to scientific publications. The Government has taken a number of steps to accelerate the development and promotion of R&D. These measures include successive increase in plan allocations for Scientific Departments, setting up of new institutions for science education and research, creation of centres of excellence and facilities in emerging and frontline areas in academic and national institutes, induction of new and attractive fellowships, strengthening infrastructure for R&D, encouraging public-private R&D partnerships etc. Launching of initiatives like Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), Nano Mission, Mega Facilities, Open Source Drug Discovery, Network Projects, Climate Change Studies, National Biotechnology Development Strategy etc. in the XI Plan period demonstrated the commitment of the Government to encourage and promote research in a better scientific environment. Significant enhancement of S&T support system has been recorded in the last three years. This includes reaching of INSPIRE programme in every part of the country, creation of a new structure for basic research by establishing a Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) in the country as an autonomous body through an Act of Parliament etc.
He further stated that S&T Departments have made detailed plans with substantial increase of investment in the XII Plan period. This includes initiation of Grand Challenge Programmes; launching PAN-India missions to address national priorities in various developmental sectors particularly in the areas of Health, Water, Energy, Food; setting up Peta scale supercomputing facilities for various applications in prime domains like climate modelling, weather prediction, aerospace engineering, computational biology, atomic energy simulations, earthquake simulations, national security etc. Increase R&D expenditure to 2% of GDP with sizable contribution from the corporate sector by attracting investments and engagement of the corporate sector into R&D is another significant action plan.