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New govt should give a leg-up to science and technology: Scientist Madhavan Nair


Press Trust of India Hyderabad
The new government at the Centre needs to pay lot more attention to science & technology, an eminent scientist said Wednesday and raised the pitch for setting up science council of India for efficient and focused approach towards research and development programmes.
Former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) G Madhavan Nair said a critical review is needed on research activities in the fields of defence, atomic energy, agriculture and medical.
"Today something visible... is available from the ISRO programmes. Why all other areas are silent? Critical review is required, especially in defence research, atomic energy, agriculture and medical research," he said.
"These fields are highly relevant for the country. And practically if results are not visible that means that kind of work is not taking place", he added.
ISRO is successful because it works on a mission-mode approach, Nair said.
According to him, the government has to cast a number of national teams in areas such as agriculture and medical research, and atomic programme. He said related R&D organisations have to be made to work together.
A thrust is required on development of indigenous technologies, he said, adding that there is no focus on research activities and funding for them gets distributed in a "scattered way".
"India needs to identify national missions," Nair told PTI, sharing his thoughts on what the new government needs to do in the area of science and technology.
Nair said administration of S & T management does not have an apex body which makes all decisions in the area on behalf of the government. Establishing a S & T council, which has been talked about for many years now, needs to get off the ground, he said.
"This professional body which can assess research, and take care of funding and monitoring aspects has to be given full freedom and sufficient funding for a focused approach towards R & D activities," he said.
Approval for R & D projects takes a long time in India, he said.
He also said that industry is not really coming forward to encourage research, and make use of developed technologies and commercialising them. Industry has to be made a partner in R & D programmes, Nair emphasised.
"In the previous five years (of the NDA government), I don't think we have paid that much attention to S & T area," he said.
Nair also called for promotion of low cost medical care.
"May be a combination of ayurveda and allopathy type of system has to evolve," he said.
Stating that availability of drinking water continues to be a problem all over the country, he suggested an integrated programme for water management.
"India has to contribute towards development of technologies in the renewable and alternative energy space dominated today by China and Europe," Nair said.

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First Published: May 29 2019 | 4:20 PM IST

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