Margao: Eminent Indian Physicist Padma Vibhushan Dr Anil Kakodkar on Thursday said that for India, simply becoming the top economy in the world is a very low end, while the country should look at ensuring that the quality of life of average Indian should be the best in the world.
“If you want to become Vishwaguru, then the science and technology should happen. I am not putting a time table whether it will happen by 2047 or not but at least I want to propose that it should be our aim,” said Kakodkar addressing a lecture on “Indian Science: 75 years and Beyond” during Fomento Vichar Vedh lecture series currently ongoing at Margao in South Goa.
The 79-year-old scientist said that simply becoming the top economies in the world, is a very low end.
“The quality of life of average Indian should be the best in the world. If you put this simple objective as your development objective, I think everything will follow but that requires that kind of mission, that kind of mindset, both in terms of who do new technology but also those who leverage the technology for larger good,” he said.
Kakodkar said that India is currently in the knowledge-era. “Our question is can India regain its past glory. The economic progress that is taking place, can we take it to a level where India would be a number one country,” he said adding “the answer to that is Yes and No.”
The Padma Vibhushan Awardee said that India’s economy will grow.
“We are already in dollar purchase parity term, really on the top but whether economy is being on the top?”
He said that the growth of economy is a natural thing to happen in the current circumstances, but that does not necessarily mean that the quality of life of average Indian would be comparable with the best in the world.
“If you want quality of life of average Indian to be comparable with the best in the world, one of the important parameter, I would say we should really target per capita income where we should be the best,” he said.
To achieve this, he said, our GDP has to go many times over the current leaders like the USA or China. “And that’s a tall order. We need to certainly fulfill certain requirements to achieve that,” he added.
Kakodkar said that India has great academic institutions but if you now look at the ranking of universities none of them are within 100 and in some ranking none of them are within 200 or 300.
“That is a matter of worry. Why when the resources were so limited, India was at foreign rule, (but still) Indian science can do things at that level now we are not able to do. That was the era when most of the scientists were participants in the freedom movement, they were doing since to take India forward,” he said.
Kakodkar said that not that things are very bad. “If you look at Science Technology Innovation Indicators and look at things like Publications coming out of Indian labs, you will find that the growth in scientific publications in India is perhaps the fastest,” he said.
Kakodkar said that the growth of scientific output in India is one of the fastest. But the problem is most our scientific research is actually driven by the interests abroad, he added.