Need to increase investment in science to 1.2 per cent of GDP in 3 yrs: VK Saraswat

VK-Saraswat-agenciesNiti Aayog member V K Saraswat Thursday made a case for increasing the spending in science to 1.2 per cent of GDP in the next three years and said scientific research institutions have been asked to focus more on transformational research.

Saraswat further noted that the government wants to promote research in basic sciences provided it should lead to economic growth.

“Investment in science, if it becomes 1.2 per cent of GDP in the next three years, I will be very happy,” he said at an event organised by Niti Aayog and Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute (LMSAI) at Harvard University here.

Saraswat, also a former DRDO chief, further said that there has been a great transformation taking place in terms of how science have been managed through universities and scientific laboratories.

“All scientific research institutions have been now asked to focus more on transformational research rather than going into the basic research which is not so much relevant.

“And relevance has been actually factored. Today all the new programme which government of India is sanctioning whether it like cyber-physical research, artificial intelligence, in each case there has been greater initiative for innovation,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, chairperson and managing director of Biocon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, however said research in basic science is going to be vital for our future and there is danger in focusing only on applied sciences.

“Investing in basic science is not only investment in future but securing our future,” she noted.

Mazumdar also stressed on the need to scale up scientific eco-system as investing in science and technology increases economic growth.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that scientific community need to work with entrepreneurs for India to grow at 10 per cent plus.

According to Economic Survey 2018 document, India’s spending on R&D in terms of percentage of GDP has been stagnant at 0.6 to 0.7 per cent in the last two decades — much lower than the US, China, South Korea and Israel, the Economic Survey.