Consider this. A scientist on hearing that the government has decided to increase grants by 50% to those who do research in laboratories is concerned that with increased money researchers would be inclined to spend it outside laboratories, meaning they would have less time on research. See GS Mudur’s article in today’s TT.
The argument is decidedly ‘pre-historic’, for isn’t less grant one of the reasons why researchers leave in droves for abroad for greener pastures? In fact, given the money even new executives of the corporate world earn, it’ll be a crime to deny researchers better emoluments.
This and the decision to integrate all the libraries, big and small, across the nation through a common network and upgrade them are 3 instances of the present government’s seriousness in according priority to improve the quality of knowledge in the country.
On Jan 12, 2006 the National Knowledge Commission (NKC), started by the Prime Minister in June 2005, in its first Report to the Nation suggested setting up 1500 universities in not-so-distant future in order to expand the knowledge base in the country.
The NKC further suggested allocating 1.5% of GDP for higher education, which as per 2006 estimates amounts to $12 billion. See my article, 1500 new universities.
Now, going by NKC’s suggestion on integration of libraries, the government is putting finishing touches to its plan to start the National Mission on Library and Information Services (NMLIS) in October.
Once this happens, the culture ministry will monitor all libraries — from those in schools, universities and research bodies to the public or private ones. Rs.1000 crores have been earmarked for that with expectation of matching spending by the private sector. Read the TT story.
Never before in 60 years since Independence has the nation seen such a huge plan and outlay of funds in support of education. This will be one of the many hallmarks of the current government that will go down as a pathbreaking initiative in the history of the nation.
Interestingly, this has come from a Prime Minister, who is an educationist to the core, albeit a politician as well. Here is a man who clearly understands what is the best for the country, and is therefore working unhesitatingly to achieve the goal. The nation is singularly fortunate to have him as the PM.