'Reforms in higher education vital for economic growth'
"Higher education reforms are essential if the nation is to meet
the serious challenge of skill shortage that will not allow the
economy to grow at 8-10 per cent annually," said Pitroda, an
advisor to the prime minister, while addressing the Federation of
Mumbai: The Indian
government and industry will absorb at least 10,000 PhDs every
year and prevent brain drain in an effort to boost research and
development (R&D) investments in the country, Minister of State
for Planning Ashwani Kumar said Monday.
"The government firmly believes that if India's quest for global
leadership has to be achieved, we need to give clear focus to the
areas of science, technology and innovation. For a country of
India's size, capabilities and resources, the money invested in
R&D by the private sector needs to be increased exponentially," he
Ashwani Kumar was speaking at a special interactive session on
"How to Increase Industry Investment in R&D' organised by the
Confederation of Indian Industry, as part of the World Economic
Forum's "India Economic Summit".
"Energy, food and health security is the nation's priority. To
achieve this, we have identified a few thrust areas for investment
and research such as bio-tech, nano science, material sciences,
genomics, bio-tech, vaccine research among others," he said.
He assured to give the necessary political lead to initiatives
discussed with the industry in a meeting with CEO's Monday and
take the necessary steps for the government to partner with the
"That is the PM's directive as well, to give science and
technology the thrust it requires to take the nation forward,"
Ashwani Kumar said.
Besides absorbing 10,000 PhDs, Kumar said that the private sector
and government are working together to absorb foreign scientists
of Indian origin who want to return to India.
"We are creating an ecosystem so that scientists returning to
India will not be in want of an industry job," he added.
Urging the need to create "absorptive capacity to inspire young
minds to take up science and technology", the minister said that
the government expected the private sector to quadruple its
investment in research and development.
On its part, the government would spend 1.5-2.0 percent of the GDP
in R&D, he assured.
The minister announced that a committee headed jointly by an
industry leader and a government officer would be set up to
prepare a white paper on where the country stands today in terms
of research and development.
"This will help the government and private sector to finalize a
plan of action together," he noted.
Science and Technology Secretary T. Ramasami said that the need is
not to look at the past and present, but also to see what will
happen in the next five years.
"The investment plan of the private sector has to be in sync with
government policies and where there is a lack, the government
should push for policy readjustment so that there is no hindrance
in the knowledge transfer from mind to market space," he said.