Science trips on red tape
CNR Rao, the scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, was at his caustic best when he lambasted the Indian bureaucracy for their apathetic attitude towards the Indian scientific community.
“Bureaucracy is responsible for scientists in India getting poorly paid. Compared to India, even scientists in Pakistan get paid handsomely,” Rao said while speaking to the media at the Nehru Science Centre. Saying that it was becoming increasingly difficult to protect and retain bright people in the field of science Rao said “rigid salary structures, which the bureaucracy refuses to change, had precipitated this crisis. Even if the Prime Minister wants to change things, the bureaucratic machinery won’t allow him to do so”.
“Not only are we not paying them well but the working environment for scientists is not that good as well. Unlike India, countries like Singapore and China offer lucrative salaries and big, ambitious projects to attract the best talent,” he said. During the last decade there had been a dramatic reduction in the number of research papers from Indian scientists.
“Ten years ago, China was way below us in the field of research. Now, it’s not only China but countries like Brasil, South Korea and Taiwan are marching ahead of us,” he said. “We desperately need investment in science…in people as well as universities. We also need to reorganise our education system. India should have 4,000 universities instead of the current 300.”