Due place not given for science, technology, says Minister
The importance of science and technology in the modern world for the
development of our society and improving the living conditions has not
been properly appreciated in Sri Lanka, Science and Technology Minister
Professor Tissa Vitarana said.
Addressing a workshop on Barriers to Young Scientists organised by
the National Science and Technology Commission, recently he reminisced
that india's first Prime Minister Jawarhalal Nehru, was someone who
appreciated the role of science and technology.
He said Tagore who was very progressive and looked to the development
along with the rest of the world for India influenced Nehru of which the
outcome was that the Prime Minister of India has always been the
Minister of Science and Technology.
"We cannot develop our economy without having matching technology
inputs which are appropriate to our needs. It is to that extent that we
are able to do that and succeed as a nation."
"Like several previous years, this year's allocation for science and
technology is only 0.13 per cent of our GDP, one of the lowest in the
world. I am sorry to state about the lack of appreciation of the
importance of science and technology on the side of those who handle our
funds. Unless they change that position, we cannot stop the colossal
brain drain which is really wastage of the tremendous resources that are
putting to education in our country.
The Minister emphasised the need to successfully carry out a campaign
to increase this percentage investment from GDP in science and
"We have to create the type of awareness among the policy makers so
that this situation can be avoided.
The funding provided has to be related to economic and social
development." Professor Vitarana stated that there is resistance on our
scientists and technologists to interact with the scientists and
technologists who are frontiers of knowledge abroad.
"We are in a world which is integrated from the point of view of
science and technology.
The developed countries have drawn the scientists and technologists
from our country also and make use of them as best brains to reach the
frontiers of knowledge so that they are able to do better than our
The Minister stated that the quickest way for us to catch up is be
ready to interact with those scientists aborad and get their inputs.
"Then we may rise up to the international level."
"Nanotechnology is going to revolutionise all other ares of science
and technology. Sri Lankan scientists are leaders in nanotechnology.
Professor Ravi Silva who is the head of the Advanced Technology
Institute in Surrey, London and a member of a five man team leading the
Nanotechnology in Britain, is here to help establish a Nanotechnology
centre in Sri Lanka. There is an international advisory panel set up
here for that purpose.'
The Minister pointed out that the bureaucratic traditions and
attitudes in our country are very deep rooted.
"The auditing system is completely wrong here, with the money that
has been given, what is important is what outcome has been achieved.
They should either commend or criticise your for lack of output or for
However, the practice has been whether you have filled the form
properly, whether the money has been drawn according to the procedures.
Whether you have followed the procedures is all that matters for them
and that are what they give focus on."