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PM seeks to increase private funding in research to 50%

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has suggested increasing private sector funding in Research and Development to 50% from the current 20%. The suggestion was made during a review meeting of eight ministries related to scientific research. The meeting was attended by representatives from science and technology, space, atomic energy, earth sciences, biotechnology, defence production ministries.

Prime Minister spelt out the need to increase country’s footing as a major player in publication of scientific literature, “Prime Minister said that India’s share in scientific literature published in international journals should be increased to 10% in the next plan,” said an official.

According to the sources, all participating departments were told to make most of the prevailing interest in India as an investment destination and come up with ways to attract FDI in scientific endeavours. African countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have expressed interest in partnering scientific ventures in India, and also to purchase technology.

Singh also assure that issue of inclusion of more than 1,000 scientists in the new pension scheme that was turned down by the finance ministry recently or norms for the selection of heads of scientific PSUs will be settled.

The PMO directed the department of science and technology to send a “well-reasoned note” on the pension scheme to the finance ministry, and asked the department of scientific and industrial research (DSIR) to evolve a suitable selection process for scientific PSUs so that the recurrent bureaucrat-scientist tussles do not hamper their working.

The PMO also asked for expediting the setting up of the biotechnology industry research assistance council (BIRAC).

The research and development sector is increasingly becoming business-funded in developed countries. For instance, the European Union’s R&D programme in 2008 relied 55% on private sector’s funds, a third came from the respective governments and around 9% from abroad. In 2007, of the entire amount spent in Japan, 77.7% was bankrolled by the private sector, and in the US, 67.3% was funded by the business houses.

[Source: Times of India]
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