Friday, January 8, 2010

Missing Researchers India- Is it really True????

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Last Sunday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said something that India’s leading scientists have been saying for long: The time has come to liberate Indian science from red tape and cronyism. Singh’s comments came barely a week after Nobel laureate Indian-American scientist Venkataraman Ramakrishnan told reporters in Chennai that India must provide scientists autonomy from red tape and local politics if it wants scientists of Indian origin to return home. “They should be allowed to do science — peacefully,” Ramakrishnan said.

These are very important comments I read in Business Standard on this Thursday. It really time to think on these comments. Are we really in scarcity of researchers and think tank? I think actually not, but we need to think something beyond our traditional thinking. In more than one billion population country, we have lots many people who are thinking in innovative and doing research. But we are lacking in something call documentation. Take the example of our health care system, we have very good health care delivery system in country know as primary health care. Each primary heath center located at 30 to 40 thousand population and catering services. On paper it looks very good. But when you go on site, they are poorly located in term of geographical access and cultural access. In this PHC each five thousand population, there are one male and female worker, looking after for various programme. But still we don’t have actual data of death and birth. We always depend on probable data and projected data. Even somebody working nicely and maintain good data record, instead of putting trust, we are looking as suspicious. So in system those who want to work effectively, the system will not help to work. I know personally many people who are doing great innovation and continuously fighting with situation. But such people are very few and all will not have that much positive attitude. We have example of people who failed in India but got great success in other country, recent example of Nobel Prize winner.
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So it is rightly said by two eminent people about dare need of country. I have seen people and knowing very good people who can do good research and they are doing good community work but problem is of breath. They are not able to breath in complicated bureaucratic and political system. The need of hour is the change in system. Research can not be forced. It should come from within the individual. We need to create environment in various institution for research. We just talk one example of health department. If we look the research work conducted by medical colleges, majority is the mechanical work, either as part of dissertation to get post graduate degree or imposed due to faculty want promotion. But any really new innovative research, really few may be. Also just ask our government health department for fund spent for last three to five years, it will also just few bucks. If anybody has data regarding this please share.
In that article, the author said that the aggregate domestic research and development (R&D) spending has never exceeded 1 per cent of GDP, making India the world’s ninth-largest spender. China spends more than three times of what India does. The gap will only widen further with China planning to increase the proportion of R&D spending to a staggering 4 per cent of GDP by 2025 (it’s around 1.5 per cent now). Not only these, the author adds besides, about 75-80 per cent of India’s R&D spending comes from public enterprises, while in China, more than 65 per cent comes from private enterprises. India also fares very low in the ratio of researchers to the total population: It has 120 people employed in R&D per million of the population compared to 633 for China.

The private sector’s role in promoting science and indigenous R&D has also been abysmal. A study done by the Administrative Staff College of India a few years ago found that over 80 per cent of Indian companies reported zero spend on R&D in their annual reports. The broad pattern of India’s spending on science shows that a major chunk goes into mission mode projects in areas like space, ocean development, atomic energy and defence. While the defence sector continues to garner maximum funds, industrial R&D has suffered badly — something that will most certainly affect the industrial competitiveness of India vis-à-vis countries such as Taiwan, Singapore, Israel and Korea.

The author has reported something interesting, nearly a decade ago, the number of papers published by Indian scientists in international journals used to be close to 11,000, while Chinese scientists could manage only 10,000. But latest figures tell a completely different story: While Indian scientists published over 19,000 papers, their Chinese counterparts managed a whopping 50,000.
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CNR Rao, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the PM, has also often raised the employability issue. Annually, India produces 650,000 undergraduates, which is eight times that of the US. But 60 per cent of the undergraduates are not well-trained, as a result of which over half of engineering students are unfit for employment. The crux of problem is not the manpower but the quality of manpower. There is need to improve the education system. Last year Government of Gujarat has given permission to start college in two shift and it was considered welcome step. And now Medical council of India is going to give permission for 100 more rural medical colleges. But resent release film “3 idiots” has slapped rightly on our education system. Already we are producing lots of engineers and doctors but where is the quality? Lots of unemployed degree holders are moving around and wasting their time, as they are not getting proper job. The consequence of these, the mental health problems like depression and suicidal cases are on up trend.

Government of India and with the vision of our Hon PM, the Indian institute of public health were lunched by public health foundation. That initiative was also welcomed by public health field. But after more than five years of launching, there is urgent need to review their presence.

Looking to scenario, we are not lacking in quality manpower but we need to change in our education system. So innovation come from childhood only, no need to wait for adulthood. Some my suggestions
1. Research funding needs to de-centralized rather centralization and free from political hands.
2. Government should promote more childhood innovation and research.
3. Out side school, innovation should promote like in housewife and free people.
4. NGO working in various field should increase their R&D in their area. There should be one compulsory R&D project from NGO every year.
5. Good platform for sharing of info or innovation with positive thinking.
6. Platform for innovators and transfer of technique to real ground level.

Please give your suggestions for article

Acknowledgement: I really thank author of article ‘The missing scientists’ Shyamal Majumdar who has written good article in Business standard and initiated my though process


Social work said...

Dr. Pam
I am a public health professional and so i comment on the public health part of the article which i believe would suit to the overall argument.
Public health foundation ( PHFI) is ofcourse the brain child of PM Manmohan. The issues with PHFI are bit complicated. The major one is PHFI does not focus on the common indian.They look only at the riches ( the fee structure and programmes suggest it) and the medical professionals. Considering only Medical graduates for public profession is the major problem in this country. Where u can see in UK, Europe and US , it is the graduates in Public health ( master degree holders) who are equally considered for the profession along with these are the major issues in our PHFI.
When u talk about the international articles- the key issue in our universities are the adherence to theorotical work rather than path breaking or innovative work ( am talking about Public health again). No international journals are going to publish such 'idiotic' papers. Most of our professors have not a single article in a good international journal.
So before concluding let me say, the PHFI should either come up with good scholarship package to attract the students or should select the experienced and talented professionals from the existing health services. Otherwise the IIM of Public health will be just like another university.

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