Former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) U R Rao on Friday lashed out at politicians and called them ‘idiots’ for not bothering to acquire basic knowledge in science and technology.
At the inauguration of the sixth annual Karnataka Science and Technology Academy Conference, Rao who is also the secretary of Department of Space, said the first big mistake that happened in the country was that it was spoiled by the indifferent attitude of politicians towards science. “In India, politics is being mixed with science. When we have the capacity to do our own research, we are still relying on import substitutes. Whoever endorsed these import substitutes is an idiot,” Rao said.
Rao further expressed disappointment over the fact that there aren’t many scientific books and literature being translated into Kannada. “Children in rural areas are in need of more scientific inputs. Writings about recent path-breaking findings like the ‘God Particle’ must be translated into Kannada and given to these children,” he said. He emphasised the need for better training for teachers, and to make science laboratories in rural areas. Rao said solar technology was still very expensive, and more research was required to create more energy-efficient solar technologies. He rued that the Central government spent less than half a percentage of its budget on science and technology.
Minister for Science and Technology S R Patil assured that there will be a quantum jump in the state government’s grants for science and technology in the forthcoming budget. “We politicians will take Rao’s suggestions in good spirit. It is true that more funds are required to promote science, and CM Siddaramaiah will support it,” Patil said.
Regional Science Centres
The state government has planned a series of projects to promote science, especially among student populations in the state. Regional science centres are being established across the state. While the centre at Dharwad is already open to the public, centres in Mangalore and Mysore will be ready soon, the minister said. Dharwad will also soon get a digital planetarium.
Around 10 sub-regional science centres at `2.6 crore each are also set to come up. “The centres at Raichur, Karwar, Bidar and Bellary are underway. Bagalkot will have its own science centre. It is a project costing `3 crore,” he said.
Science Gallery in Bangalore
Bangalore will soon have a science gallery similar to the Science Gallery located at Trinity College in Dublin. A Scientific Research Cluster is also coming up on 10,000 acres near Challakere in Chitradurga. The cluster will have scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Defence Research and Development Organisation, ISRO and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre setting up their research and development facilities there.