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India even behind Kenya in Science Research

New Delhi, July 7 (G’nY News Service): Analysis of the Scopus scientific data suggests that India lags behind other emerging countries in the field of science research.

Scopus is the world’s largest abstract and citation database on science literature. A close analysis of the data by Nature magazine suggests that India has far fewer researchers than countries like Kenya and Chile. India has four researchers per10,000 when compared with Kenya which has six and Chile which has seven.

When we look at other emerging economies, the picture seems better. Brazil has 14 researchers per 10,000 working people and China has 18. The UK and US top the charts with 79 each followed by Russia with 58.

The analysis by the magazine also states that in accordance with its size, India has far fewer scientists. Many researchers go abroad while very few from abroad settle in India. According to the Scopus data, there are only 2 lakh full time researchers in India with 14 per cent of them being women.

R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India & Chairman, SAC-C, believes that the problem is at two levels: 1.) Students at the class 12 levelwho are interested in pure sciences are getting into engineering and 2.) B. Tech level students who are good at engineering are getting into management courses.

According to Asutosh Sharrma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, this lack of scientists is one of the most important factors scourging the growth of scientific development in India. In an exclusive interview with G’nY, he said, “India is a big developing country and unlike other developed countries cannot afford to concentrate on specific fields, which compels it to and bank on other countries for the rest. There are a lot of special needs in terms of technology that other countries cannot afford to help us with, esp. at the cost at which we expect them to.”

India even behind Kenya

(Photo courtesy: http://media2.intoday.in/

He also added that India’s demands are not for the top bracket of technology; but are for cost effectiveness and functionality. “Since we cannot depend on other nations we are bound to develop larger number of technologies in India that could cater to large and diverse segments of population, for which we need to bolster the number of researchers and scientists in our country.“

Sharma also shared his insights on how the lack of infrastructure has proven to be a major problem for goal oriented scientific research in India. “Adding to it further is a lack of proper environment for good research. This forces potential scientists to leave the country and scout for better opportunities overseas.” he said.

Our correspondent also got in touch with Nafeez Meah, Director of Research Councils UK, who believes that social sciences should be an integral part of scientific innovations. When asked about the bottlenecks and shortcomings concerning research projects in India, he revealed that India needs to integrate scientific research with social sciences. “I think social sciences play a very important role, although it tends to be often overlooked. You cannot just develop new engineering solutions without understanding how social change happens or how the governments function.” he added.

Scientific research is essential for the growth and development of any nation. Research leads to solutions which help in solving complex problems. It can be an effective tool for solving our country’s pressing problems.

Read our exclusive interview with Dr. Nafeez Meah, Director of Research Councils UK.

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