[NEW DELHI] India is under-using its science funds, warns President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
A significant percentage of funds from the 2005–2006 budget went unused, Kalam told the 94th Indian Science Congress in Chidambaram on Friday (5 January). He called for a clear plan for the use of future funds.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a progressive increase in the budget allocation for science and technology, from less than one per cent of India's gross domestic product (GDP) to two per cent, phased in over the next five years, Kalam said.
The president welcomed the commitment but highlighted the under-usage of science funds in recent years, according to The Hindu newspaper.
Kalam said "more than 20 per cent of the funds had remained under-utilised during 2005–2006," the newspaper reported. This would mean only 0.25 per cent of GDP had been spent on science.
Kalam, who headed India's space and defence research programmes, said there was a need for India's scientific community to have a "clear vision for the development of science and technology".
He suggested a joint team, comprising members from scientific departments and concerned agencies, which would draw up a plan of action for increasing science research, education and training programmes and laboratories over a five-year period.
The annual increase could be 1.2 per cent for 2007–2008, and would increase year by year until it reached two per cent for 2011–2012. He recommended that, of the total science allocation, 0.5 percent of India's GDP could be allocated for basic research.