Why a Nobel in Science eludes us

Printed: Printed Date – 12:30 AM, Wed – 12 October 22

Our analysis is usually oriented in direction of drawback fixing and indigenisation of analysis accomplished overseas. We’re completely satisfied to be followers, not leaders in innovation.

By Oruganty Prasada Rao

Science in India developed a fantastic deal since Sir CV Raman gained the Noble Prize in Physics, significantly after the independence. But India has gained just one Nobel Prize in Science for Physics. That too way back in 1930. Why so?

India as we speak has 1,043 universities, 42,343 faculties and 11,779 standalone establishments. Most of them award undergraduate and postgraduate levels in numerous branches of Science. There are specialist institutes devoted to Science training and analysis too together with Bose Institute, Kolkata; Raman Analysis Institute, Bengaluru; Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

Yearly, India produces 10.6 lakh graduates in Science. Enrolment on the MSc stage in 2019-20 stood at 6,75,217. On the PhD stage, it was 9,129 in 2019-20. A series of analysis laboratories below the aegis of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Analysis and Defence Analysis & Growth Organisation carries out analysis in virtually all disciplines of Science. Thus, India has the enabling infrastructure to win Nobel Prizes.

On the postgraduate stage, the utmost variety of college students are enrolled within the Social Science stream and Science comes at quantity two. On the PhD stage, most are enrolled in Engineering and Know-how stream adopted by Science. Thus, a majority of scholars give much less significance to Science.

R&D Focus

Many commentators have stated a significant motive for our poor present on the Nobel is the insufficient expenditure on scientific work. However it’s not so. For instance, Israel and South Korea spent the best on R&D in 2022 to the tune of 4.8% and 4.5% of the GDP however have gained 13 and 1 Nobel Prizes to date, respectively. The US spent simply 3% of the GDP and has gained the utmost at 403. India spends lower than 1% of the GDP and has gained 13 Nobel Prizes — together with Indian residents, Indian born however not residents and Indian Residents on the time of being awarded however non-Indian.

In accordance with the NITI Aayog, India’s R&D expenditure is among the lowest on this planet. Not solely this, of the funds allotted to our analysis institutes, about 80% goes in direction of salaries and different overhead bills. The meagre capital accessible for analysis is thinly unfold on quite a lot of R&D tasks inadequate to take the work past ‘check tube stage’.

In Nobel-winning international locations just like the US, the UK and Germany, the most effective scientific work takes place in universities, which help fundamental analysis, collaborative work, interdisciplinary pondering in addition to innovation. Scientific discoveries from universities are then additional developed into expertise, patents, merchandise and finally wealth. The analysis at universities is funded to a big extent by the business. However, in India, the key funding comes from the federal government and business will get concerned at a later stage if the analysis reveals industrial viability. Due to this fact, a lot of the analysis work accomplished in our universities and analysis laboratories stays with them.

Poor Analysis, No Full-time Minister

Our scientists do analysis to publish papers as a result of it provides them promotions. Our analysis is usually oriented in direction of drawback fixing and indigenisation of analysis accomplished overseas. We’re completely satisfied to be followers, not leaders in innovation.

India Inc doesn’t think about the applied sciences developed in our educational and analysis establishments and prefers imported ones. However they can’t be blamed as a result of we do half-baked analysis. There’s a lot of analysis infrastructure within the nation however hardly a number of scientific achievements which have created an impression. We now have developed capabilities to launch satellites and make Mild Fight Helicopter & BrahMos missiles however they’re out of the scope of the Nobel Prize.

India doesn’t actually have a full-fledged minister for science. Dr Jitendra Singh takes care of it, as a small a part of a really giant portfolio. He’s Minister of State (Unbiased Cost) of Earth Sciences & Science & Know-how, Minister of State within the Prime Minister’s Workplace, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Division of Atomic Vitality and Division of House. An identical state of affairs exists within the State governments. This reveals the significance our governments give to Science.

Albert Einstein stated: “We owe so much to the Indians, who taught us rely, with out which no worthwhile scientific discovery may have been made” which was based mostly on historical Indian discoveries similar to the thought of zero, decimal system, binary system and the speculation of atom. Sadly, we have now did not get motivated by historical achievements.

The Olympics and the Nobel Prizes have comparable historic significance and are the best awards. We’re happy with our cricket however we don’t present even an iota of enthusiasm for the Nobel.

Jobs Extra Engaging

Greater than 1,000,000 individuals graduate in Science in India yearly. And virtually all of them are concerned with jobs. Only a handful of them are genuinely concerned with scientific analysis. The identical is the case with the medical area. Most medical graduates are virtually instantly absorbed by hospitals and others arrange their very own clinics because of the excessive doctor-to-population ratio. They’re extra concerned with incomes cash than doing analysis work.

Total, the mindset of the Indian individuals is to go for jobs proper after commencement. Training shouldn’t be for buying data however for incomes a livelihood. Encouragement to take up analysis can be very much less, from mother and father, society, authorities and lecturers/professors. There’s campus interview by firms for jobs, not for analysis work.

We now have a reservation system based mostly on caste, faith, nativity, and many others, in training, jobs and even in promotions. Advantage which is completely mandatory for analysis is shadowed by the endless reservation system. Trendy Indians desire candidates from their caste or creed or faith or language reasonably than benefit for a job. To do wonders in Science that get prizes, one should be genuinely concerned with it and should have entry to infrastructure that helps in reaching it.

Indians are extra individualistic and don’t prefer to share credit score for innovation. Any analysis involving teamwork will get into hassle resulting from such an angle. Politics and favouritism in analysis can’t be dominated out.

We take satisfaction in boasting that many Indian scientists are working in NASA and Silicon Valley and high firms like Google and Microsoft have Indian-origin CEOs. However we don’t convert satisfaction into prize.

The World Innovation Index is an annual rating of nations by their capability for, and success in innovation. India was at forty sixth rank out of 132 international locations in 2021. The NITI Aayog has come out with the India Innovation Index, which is a device for the analysis and improvement of the innovation ecosystem within the nation and ranks the States to construct wholesome competitors amongst them. Hope this allows a Nobel Prize in Science for India quickly.

(The creator is a retired Scientist, CSIR)

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