In a bid to even out the ever widening research gap between
India and China, the government is considering exempting PhD aspirants from the
Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). The test is a national gateway
for pursuing research at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and other
central science and engineering institutions. Most PhD programmes at the IITs,
National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other central science schools
currently consider GATE scores.
The Standing Committee of the IIT Council (SCIC) – an
executive sub-group of the apex decision making body of the IITs — will
discuss the plan at a key meet on November 5 at IIT Bombay. The meet will focus
on strategies to ramp up the country’s science research.
This proposal among a set of recommendations will be
reviewed at the meeting. The recommendations have been made by a panel headed
by former atomic energy czar Anil Kakodkar. The Kakodkar panel has set a target
of increasing India’s annual science and engineering PhD output from about 9000
at present to 40,000 by 2025. The IITs alone contribute about 1000 of the
current PhDs each year. China already produces about 50,000 PhDs in science and
engineering each year, reported Hindustan Times.
China and India were almost at par in quantity of
peer-reviewed science research at the start of the millennium, but the former has
leapfrogged almost four fold ahead over the past 12 years. Globally, China
today provides almost 12% of the world’s research publications in science and
engineering, while Indian research makes up just over 3%.
The US share in world research has declined sharply from the
1980s but it still has 30% of the world’s science and engineering research.