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.