The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Science brain drain pains PM
- Promise to dismantle bureaucracy

Bangalore, Jan. 3: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today promised to free science and technology institutions from the clutches of the bureaucracy and expressed concern over what he called “internal brain drain”.

Unveiling the national science policy, Vajpayee said: “We have to ensure our scientific institutions do not become afflicted by the culture of our government agencies.”

The Prime Minister explained what he meant by internal brain drain. “We need to examine why a career in science is not considered worthwhile by so many of our talented younger scientists.”

Vajpayee expressed anguish over diversion of talent from research careers to non-scientific fields in government and the private sector.

Opening the 90th session of the Indian Science Congress, he said the government would formulate “pragmatic and flexible schemes” to enable expatriates to “come and work in our science and technology institutions”.

In his address to over 3,000 scientists, Vajpayee promised simplification of administrative and financial procedures to allow efficient operation of research programmes, a quality that is tied up with any possible return of scientists and technologists of Indian origin.

The Science and Technology Policy 2003, coming after a gap of two decades, committed the government to spending at least 2 per cent of the GDP on science and technology within the next five years.

It lays out a roadmap for policymakers and scientists to fight poverty, ensure food and energy security, foster scientific research and establish an intellectual property rights regime.

Vajpayee warned the scientific community that the gains of the past half-a-century cannot be consolidated if internal brain drain did not stop. “Talent should not be suppressed and individualism should not replace teamwork… Inadequate attention to these aspects sometimes results in our talented younger scientists getting frustrated. Closely linked to the bureaucratic culture in our science and technology establishments is the disturbing phenomenon of internal brain drain,” he said.

Vajpayee announced the institution of an annual Rs 25 lakh India Science Award.

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would attend tomorrow’s sessions, essentially in his capacity as a scientist.

, brushing aside protocol that bars him from being present at any event opened by the Prime Minister.

Expressing concern over the lack of basic healthcare and drinking water for millions of citizens, Vajpayee asked scientists to address these issues on a priority basis. He also referred to the waste of farm produce for lack of preservation facilities.

“All these efforts are essential to increase rural incomes and generate new employment opportunities in the rural economy, which is our first developmental priority."

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would be attending tomorrow’s sessions, essentially in his capacity as a scientist, brushing aside protocol that bars him from being present at any event opened by the Prime Minister.

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