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Indian science is bureaucratic, hierarchical and untouched by liberalisation, calling for improvements in autonomy, accountability and internal democracy, according to an opinion piece by M. Vijayan in Current Science

Since the ‘strategic’ departments dealing with atomic energy, space and defence research enjoy substantial autonomy there is no reason why the other science and technology departments cannot be granted the same level of independent functioning.  

Autonomy should percolate through different levels to individual scientists, with appropriate safeguards, so that public policy and financial and administrative propriety are observed. 

Since institutions need to attract private funds, it should be ensured that the quest for autonomy from the government does not result in surrender to private interests.

Funds should be utilised for the purpose for which they have been allotted, the principle being that autonomy and accountability are two sides of the same coin.

Internal democracy is as important as autonomy and researchers should be given full scope for intellectual expression.

It is the right of scientists to be involved in major decisions affecting the community, through appropriate consultative process.  

The scientific enterprise in the country is a tried and tested system, capable of addressing its weaknesses — provided there is the urge and will.

Link to original article in Current Science  [30kB]