Research in India: A point to research

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There is a lot outcry on new US president’s actions after assuming the office. I really wondered why it is being considered wrong to take strict actions by a country’s Premier towards safeguarding the interest of his own countrymen. He may not be hundred percent right, but you can’t call him wrong either. 

As the world started shrinking due to open trade policy and better infrastructure, the inflow of people from one part of the country to other, from one part of the world to other for the sake of job, for trade and other needs has started increasing. People always try to settle in a better environment. This, on one side provides opportunity to a competent person, irrespective of his caste, creed, language, nationality etc., but on the other side cut down the chances of employment of local inhabitants. Which administrator, on the earth would like that? However due to diplomacy, these practices are not only allowed but encouraged too.

For example, in the field of scientific research, the scholars prefer to go to US for higher studies or quality research. Even in our country, the ‘cream’ of undergraduates after utilizing the infrastructure for their studies, prefers to pursue further studies abroad. This is the main reason why most of the scientific research is happening abroad and India despite all its efforts in mobilizing the resources stands fairly behind. The other reason for the ‘failure’ of quality research activities in India is the unavailability of the environment. The pathway towards research is not very apparent. One completes the bachelor’s degree in engineering, gets the job and settles. Those who do not get jobs go for post graduation and then try for job. If they succeed, they settle else they search for alternative opportunities like teaching, consultancy etc.  The doctorate in engineering at one stretch  gets a lukewarm response, except for those integrated Ph.D. courses.

Similarly for the science stream, the post graduation is the final destination after which the efforts are made for either competitive examinations or a temporary settlement in the name of teaching. Further, those who opt for doctoral degree, do the same for settling as a faculty. Hence, in the current setup there is nothing called ‘pure scientific research’ in India. Even in all those research institutions, scholars settle as scientists and perform research than vice versa.

The plight of Ph. D. holders in science stream in India as compared to other countries is very pathetic. Colleges do not recruit them as they get less qualified faculty in relatively lesser cost. There are various schemes from department of biotechnology research of department of science and technology, but they are all mentor dependent. That means one has to pen down the research objective and then find a mentor who agrees to guide. There lies the crux of the problem. Why can’t the research proposals alone be invited by those departments, taking the responsibility of allocating mentors from their pool of interested scientists and professors?

Almost 95% of the faculties or the scientists provide their mentorship either by recommendation or on the basis of factors such as caste, creed, language, religion and other social divides. No one agrees to guide a scholar based on the merit. Even the posts of research associates or research fellows are created to recruit identified people involving a formal procedure. When such is the state of affairs in the field of research, how would you expect to deliver quality research outputs? When can be except a Nobel Prize in the field of science with research carried out purely in our country?

It is ironical that the government keeps increasing the funds allocated for research activities and it all gets wasted in just continuing routine activities. If at all there are some bright scholars emerged in the process with some seriousness, they are either encouraged or forced to pursue further research abroad. It is high time that we formulate a ‘research policy’ for our country with clear cut guidelines for the research activities and the pathway to quality research. The selection of research fellows, research associates and other such researchers should be done through a central portal and an independent panel. There should be a database maintained for the prospective researchers and also the mentors who can be brought together purely on merit basis. Till such measures are taken, expecting miracles from Indian institutions shall be a distant dream.

A point to research

Seriousness

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