At the Indian Science Congress last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh surprised his audience with a promise to more than double central government R&D spending from $3 billion in 2011 to $8 billion by 2017. If the windfall appears in India's next 5-year plan, expected to be released in March or April, credit Singh's science advisory council. In a report to Singh last month, the panel, chaired by eminent chemist [and SIG board member] C. N. R. Rao, warned that Indian laboratories are rife with mediocrity and its universities are in decay. Worried that India's scientific community is losing ground to China and other nations, the council urged Singh to take “steps in a warlike fashion,” including dispatching hundreds of students abroad for training and creating centers of excellence around top-shelf investigators. Article here.
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