Low funds will hit science: CNR

As bouquets and boxes of sweets and fruits piled up at his modest study.

Bengaluru: As bouquets and boxes of sweets and fruits piled up at his modest study a day after he was chosen for Bharat Ratna, Prof C.N.R. Rao had one reason to be upset: insignificant allocation of funds for science and technology when compared with enormous resources put aside by the Union government for sectors like defence and homeland security.

On Sunday, a steady stream of visitors starting with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Prof Rao’s first student Prof K.J. Rao, his childhood buddy and aerospace expert Prof Roddam Narasimha, Prof Varadachari Krishnan, former president of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Dr Govindarajan Padm­anabhan, former Director of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), bureaucrats and senior police officers queued up to greet the scientist. His telephone rang incessantly with

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, many Union ministers and Pejawar seer Vishwesha Teertha Swami calling to congratulate him. “If Prof. C.N.R. Rao is honoured, the whole of Karnataka is honoured. We are proud of him. We will take the necessary steps to improve the standard of science,” remarked Siddaramaiah after a brief meeting with the distinguished scientist.

During his interaction with media persons, Prof. Rao spoke of his distress over “marginal” funding for science and technology as against enhanced investments by the governments of China and South Korea, of how researchers at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) should work on cutting edge technologies to catapult their organisations into the league of institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and California Institute of Technology (CALTECH), of how youngsters were flocking to the IT sector, but ending up as unhappy employees with growing instances of suicide and crime, and how he owed his success to his parents who allowed him to pursue science and travel to Benaras and Purdue in the United States for higher studies.
He said “China and South Korea are doing very well in science because their investment is very high. They want to beat America after already beating Japan.

South Korea is ahead of Japan in technology and innovation. I think we should become like that. If India invests in science over the next 10-20 years as much as China and South Korea do, we would be able to make up the lost time and catch up with them.

We should have long-term investments in science and plan in advance as India’s future is linked with science. More investments will enable the youth to look at science as an important area of work for a great future. Only countries which advanced scientifically made progress, while those who neglected it are not known.”

He lamented the fact that the country ranked very low in innovation. “I think India has to learn to use the latest results of science and technology and innovation. We are ranked at 66 in innovation out of 140 countries because we have not been successful in investing in science, technology and innovation. That is why we are not able to compete with China, which has suddenly come up in the last 10 years,” he added.

( Source : dc )
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