Bangalore, Sep 23 (IANS) The ministry of science and technology has sought a four-fold increase in the five-year plan allocation to promote basic sciences and invest heavily in knowledge-based research that will prepare the base for a higher economic growth curve.
'As against Rs.250 billion allotted during the 10th plan (2002-2007), we have submitted proposals to the Planning Commission to allocate Rs.1,000 billion in the 11th plan (2007-12) for taking up S&T to the next frontier by reviving interest in basic sciences and attracting the best minds to build scientific knowledge,' Minister of Science & Technology Kapil Sibal told reporters here Saturday.
'In the 21st century, it is the power of knowledge, especially in S&T, that will determine the strength of a nation. With a young population of 547 million (below 25 years), we have the resources to build a vast human capital to serve the country and outsource it for other countries with ageing population.
'But the reality is that out of the 1.1-billion people, there are only 10 million science graduates, accounting for a mere one percent of the population. Unless we empower the rest with education, S&T and allied skills, the country will not be able to build the human capital required to sustain an 8-10 percent GDP growth annually,' Sibal said.
As part of a national movement to attract young minds to basic sciences and research in application technology, the ministry has proposed to offer innovative scholarships for one million students in the 10-17 years age group for pursuing science as a subject for further studies.
'A proposal to grant a scholarship of Rs.5,000 per annum for every student in the middle and higher secondary school has been submitted to the finance ministry for budgetary allocation from the next fiscal (2007-08)'.
S&T Secretary T. Ramaswami said the ministry also proposed to offer a 15-year assurance scheme to students passing Class 12 for pursuing higher studies in science.
'As part of the novel scheme, we propose to offer the post of assistant professor at the college or university level, with Rs.1 million financial assistance to undertake research projects.
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