Go for the Moon Shot: Op-Ed by Dean Chakravorti in Indian Express

Indian Express

Bhaskar Chakravorti is a Senior Associate Dean at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

India's investment priorities should be restructured to focus on long-term research.

This is inspired by our newest Bharat Ratna, even though he may not know the proper way to swing a cricket bat. For those scratching their heads, here is a hint: he knows how to take a pretty good swing at our national attitude towards science. Yes, I speak of that other Bharat Ratna, C.N.R. Rao, who had the misfortune of sharing headlines with the little master when he criticised politicians for inadequately funding scientists like him.

A scientist bemoaning the lack of support to science may seem ironic, given that we are still in the glow of a rocket that recently took off for Mars. But Rao's outburst is the perfect launchpad for a general rant on the topic of how we approach science, technology and innovation in India. Rest assured, this will not dwell on the wisdom of sending rockets to other planets when we cannot send electricity or toilets to the inhabitants on this one. That argument has been made many times and I don't subscribe to it. India's economy, despite the recent setbacks, is the third-largest in the world in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. We ought to be a nation that can walk and chew the proverbial gum at the same time; we should have the ability to make headway on the immediate challenges without sacrificing investments for the long haul.

Read the full op-ed