India aims for ‘quantum jump’ in science

From Nature:

India India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh has announced unprecedented funding for science education and research, saying it is a top priority for his government. He has announced a range of schemes to attract students and replenish government agencies’ shrinking pool of scientific personnel. “We are planning to fund 30 new Central Universities, five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology, and 20 new Indian Institutes of Information Technology,” Singh said. In the next five years, he added, India will also be launching 1,600 polytechnics, 10,000 vocational schools and 50,000 skill-development centres. One million schoolchildren will receive science innovation scholarships of 5,000 rupees (US$130) each over the next five years, and 10,000 scholarships of 100,000 rupees per year will go to those enrolling on science degree courses.

“We need a quantum jump in science education and research,” Singh said. “This agenda can no longer wait. The time has come for action, and I assure you of my highest personal commitment.” Singh said a plan for implementing the proposals will be devised in the next six months. Funding the schemes has required a fivefold increase in the education budget for 2007–12.

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