CHENNAI: India spends money on science and technology from public resources, but industries have not woken up to the fact that they need to invest in research and development, said Shekhar C Mande, Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), speaking at ThinkEdu Conclave 2019.
“When industries too start investing, it will benefit both their profits and the society as a whole,” he said, speaking at a panel discussion themed: “Are we investing enough in education infrastructure and research?”
Debashis Chatterjee, Director of IIM Kozhikode, who chaired the panel, said the private education sector grows six times as much as the public sector. Pointing to the increase in a profit-driven system, he said the poor were finding it increasingly difficult to access good education.
Taking off from there, activist Thirumurugan Gandhi said that India needs to invest more in education and infrastructure because we cannot deprive large-sections of the population of access to knowledge. Gandhi, a geo-political commentator and a human rights activist, added that the days of Manu Dharma were gone when education was exclusive to an elite few. “The reason we need more government investment is that the profits are privatised and losses are socialised,” he said. He added that several expert committees set up by the government, starting with the Kothari Commission set up in 1964, have suggested that the government spend at least six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education.
E Suresh Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), said that the question if we have enough funds is a relative question. “A person may eat a sumptuous meal for `200. But can we guarantee that a `2,000 meal is equally sumptuous or ten times better?” he opined, adding that funds must be used optimally.