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More private investment in R&D remains a challenge: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday urged his scientific advisory council to focus on the "challenge" of increasing private investments in research and development (R&D) to convert knowledge into value and wealth.

"Increasing private sector investments into R&D and making possible conversion of knowledge into value and wealth remains a challenge that I would like the council to look into," he said at the release here of a book "Science in India (2004-13): Decade of achievements and rising aspirations", compiled by the council, an official statement said.

Noting that adequate funding is critical for science, he asserted that his government has accorded high priority to it.

"Unfortunately, private sector investment into R&D has not grown fast enough for us to double the overall national investments into R&D from the current level of 1 percent of GDP to 2 percent," said the prime minister.

Manmohan Singh said that the government's efforts during the last decade has focused on two broad themes including attempt to strengthen and expand institutional mechanism for scientific research and to leverage science to address the longstanding practical problems like disease, malnutrition or provision of safe drinking water.

"I have always believed that our scientists must provide viable solutions to pressing national problems of food and nutrition security, energy and environment security and water and sanitation related problems. We require new approaches to make our innovations green and affordable to many," said the prime minister.

The new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy launched earlier this year aims to make India a global leader in science, but required a regular supply of talent, said the prime minister.

"We need strong and high-quality educational and scientific institutions to identify and mentor talent. We also need an ecosystem in which applications of new scientific knowledge can be seamlessly integrated with innovation to drive the path of economic progress and prosperity and solve the unique problems of our people," he said.