Capitalizing upto 3.5% of GDP in S,T&I can be "the game changer": Sc. Wizard

Ahsan Jamil

THE SCIENTISTS play a critical role in national development and manifest their vitality on number of national level issues by prompting policy makers in right direction in order to take viable long sighted decisions instead of hasty myopic strategies that look good option in a frame but as the decades pass; adversities tend to dominate vivaciously. Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) recently hold a meeting of eminent scientists to review the improvements of SandT sector over the span of 50 years since the meeting of scientists was convened in 1965 in Swat with then President of Pakisan, Ayub Khan, in which 20 recommendations for improvement of SandT sectors were given.

Few shocking revelations came out upon mutual review that most of the recommendations were not taken up seriously that has resulted in quandary situation of SandT sector in the country. Even the most prominent recommendation of allocation of 2% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to SandT in federal budget was blithely ignored and was given just a morsel of 0.2% GDP.

Dr Anwar Nasim, President PAS commented on the meager fund allocation, “Investing up to 3.5% of GDP in science, technology and innovation can be the game changer, to help alleviate poverty, reduce inequalities, increase income and improve health standards in the country but the scanty fund allocation has put frown on forehead of scientists fraternity and to improve upon this situation, it is imperative for government to enhance the SandT fund allocation up to at least 1% of GDP immediately”.

The appointment of non-technical or non-scientists as Federal Minister, Secretary, or Advisor for Science and Technology, is increasing the communication gap between scientist community and the relevant authorities. Due to this, the access of scientists with government is halted and crate communication flaws which causes slow decision making and even no decision on many valuable ideas generated by scientist community. The scientists in the meeting stressed on the need that government must bring necessary reforms to appoint an eminent Scientist on said position to overcome the situation and hone for a better future.

“The SandT sector in any country can guarantee national prosperity provided the patronage of government; proper funds allocation, enabling conditions to nurture scientific research, improving academic standards can alleviate the scientific advancement and account for various sweltering challenges of the country”, Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf highlighted the significance of SandT.

To save the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) from land mafia, a resolution was unanimously adopted, and urged the Prime Minister to reject the CDA summary for conversion of NARCs 1400 Acres research farm in to a housing scheme, and to extend the NARC land lease for 90 years.

The meeting was participated by Dr Anwar Nasim, President, Pakistan Academy of Sciences; Prof Dr Zabta K Shinwari, Secretary General PAS; Prof Dr Manzoor H. Soomro, President, ECO Science Foundation; Prof Dr M.D. Shami, Vice President, Islamic World Academy of Sciences; Dr Shaukat Hameed Khan, Coordinator General COMSTECH; Prof Dr Qasim Jan, Advisor (Science) COMSTECH; Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, Executive Director, COMSATS; Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF); Prof Dr Anwar-ul-Hassan Gilani, Chairman, Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST); and Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).

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