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PGT: Dr Mashelkar, despite all this rhetoric about treating the laboratory as the temple of modern India, the fact is that large number of Indian scientists have moved on to careers, lucrative careers, in management, for instance. Basically, Indian laboratories are not enticing enough to support the scientists… You, of course, talked about the poor salary conditions, et cetera, but even if you look at the national expenditure on research and development as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. After rising steadily to 0.98% from 1958-59 all the way to 1987-88, since then there has been a steady decline and it is now around 0.8%. Why has this happened and how can this be reversed?

RAM: My response to that would be the following: I think we do need to enhance our investments in Research and Development, in Science and Technology, because that is not our expenditure, it is an investment on our future, we can’t afford… so they must go on. But there is catch there. When we talk of 0.8% GDP, do you know that 80% of it, which is 0.64%, comes from the Government, while only 20% comes from industry. Then you go to Europe, and you talk of a 3% figure, do you know that only 20% funding comes from the government. So then you ask for 0.6% GDP coming from the government, and 0.6% GDP coming from the government, Europe as well as India, the crux of the matter is that where is it that industry is going to take a lead role on innovation? You know that ideal, the government must support precompetitive research, it must support higher education, it must support that cutting-edge science of tomorrow, there is no dispute on that. But on the other hand, the real temples of today, have to be in the industry, basically. That has not happened so far.