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Indian science minister's Nobel plan

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 11, 2007

India’s top science official faced an embarrassing question in Parliament yesterday. Kapil Sibal, the minister for science and technology, was asked whether it was true that no Indian scientist had won the Nobel Prize in the years since independence. Sibal said yes, but added that the government was working to boost India’s research infrastructure by increasing spending. He also promised other action to address the country’s innovation gap. For instance, Sibal announced that the government was preparing an Indian Innovation Act. “We need an Indian Innovation Act which is India-specific, which deals with the challenges in India to make an innovative society,” Sibal said, according to this report from CNN-IBN. “Basically, this act should talk about how we should change our education policy to make our students more innovative and about how we can weaken bureaucratic control over research and development and scientific institutions,” he added.

I’ve written several times on the Asiatech blog about Indian scientists worried that the shortcomings of India’s science and education policies put the country at a big disadvantage compared to China and other countries. It’s good that the government is recognizing that there’s a problem. With more support, maybe more Indian scientists feel that they can stay do interesting research without having to leave the country – until, that is, it’s time for them to book their ticket to Stockholm.

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Reader Comments

Saravanan Shanmugam

September 11, 2007 01:18 PM

It's a true realisation that the indian students should be motivated to be more innovative and gain more practical knowledge. It's a sad reminder that India has not produced any scientist for a nobel since Independence. And I attribute lack of focussed education policy as the reason for that.

September 11, 2007 07:26 PM

India is going to be one of the top technologically powerful countries in about 20 yrs, if their current technological quest continues


September 12, 2007 08:09 AM

Innovation needs a lot of changes in the education system as rightly pointed out and the beuracracy in education should be thrown out of the window.There is a need of out of the box thinking, like the Chinese who have adopted it and will be leaving a lot of countries behind in a matter of few years.
Its such a pity that we still buy weapons to protect our borders after 50+ years of having defence research organizations. We are so fixated with the IT services companies that we are not able to think beyond it.


September 12, 2007 11:04 AM

Kapil Sibal, who is a lawyer, is the Science and Technology Minister of the Govt. of India. He is one example of the misfits who rule India. Is it any wonder that India do not have any Nobel Prize winners in Science?


September 12, 2007 04:18 PM

how can Kapil Sibal overlook the fact that indian is by far the most innovative people in the world. indian contribute some of the most important discovery in math and science, Everyone in this world need to thank india everytime they use the number zero. Without zero, Number 1 cannot exist and there will be no math. in this world


September 14, 2007 01:02 AM

Some Indians may become top notch scientists but India as a country will not be able to generate people with passion for pursuits in basic science. Indian education system is preparing the so called bright students who can quickly answer any questions from memorized answers but who are incapable of original thinking. The education system is bent upon producing tech workers for the outsourcing industry. hardly anyone takes basic science in college. Only those who can not get admission to BE Computer Science or IT will be forced to take physics or chemistry. Even the teaching staff is deeply unmotivated and they think that it is their fate that they are stuck to this profession when the twenty something tech workers are earning in hordes.Universities are politicized and there is bureaucracy at all levels. So if any Indian gets Noble prize in basic size it will be from outside the official research community.Even Sir CV Raman was an employee in Accountants General's office when he propounded Raman Effect.


October 4, 2007 09:39 AM

Hi, Friend
India today is the second largest higher education network in the world. Universities

in India are set up by the Central or State Governments by means of legislation,

while colleges are established by either the State Governments or private bodies



July 11, 2008 12:40 AM

Indians need a different DNA

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BusinessWeek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies. Eye on Asia’s bloggers include Asia regional editor Bruce Einhorn, Tokyo reporter Ian Rowley, Korea bureau chief Moon Ihlwan, Asia News Editor and China Bureau Chief. Dexter Roberts, and Hong Kong-based Asia correspondent Frederik Balfour.

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