India will double its spending on research and development related to science and technology during the 12th Five Year Plan starting next year, Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar said Tuesday.
“The government is giving a big push to science and technology during the 12th Five Year Plan (from 2012-2017). The expenditure on department of science and technology will be doubled to Rs.150,000 crore amounting to 0.6 percent of country’s GDP (gross domestic product),” he told reporters here.
The minister said that being the third largest growing economy of the world, India needs to enhance allocations for science and technology.
“We have decided to give great significance to science- and technology-related research studies to enthuse people to pure sciences, applied sciences and research. There has been a significant decline in interest of students in science and technology but we are going to reverse this,” he said.
Ashwani Kumar said the ministry has decided to partner with institutes of higher education, schools and science institutes to make science popular among students.
The government is also planning to increase the grants for INSPIRE – scholarship for science students – from Rs.640 crore to Rs.3,000 crore in next five years.
About some of the important projects taken by the ministry, Ashwani Kumar said: “In the wake of tsunami in Japan, India is drilling an 8 km bore hole in Koyna region of Maharashtra for advance prediction of earthquakes.”
“India is also among the five countries setting up the world’s largest telescope in Hawaii to study planetary movements,” he added.