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Pranab urges govt to invest more on education, R&D

Kolkata: Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee today emphasised on more research and development and urged the government to invest more in this area.

“Today, not as a former President but as a citizen of India, I want greater investment in education and research and the country will benefit from this,” Mukherjee said here today while delivering an endowment lecture at the Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark. He  however, regretted the dwindling budget towards education and R&D of the country.

Citing the example of Germany that stood strong even during the Eurozone crisis, he said it was possible because of its continuous focus on R&D.

“In 1991, the budget on education was six per cent of the GDP but in 2018-19 Union budget allocation is just 3.6 per cent of the national GDP, though the allocation of Rs 80,500 crore may seem to be a huge sum.”

According to a UNESCO report, secondary level dropout is 45 lakh, he said.

Mukherjee said by 2025, India will have the largest young population, becoming the biggest workforce in the world.

“If we are unable to convert this population into suitable workforce and not able to create jobs by adopting new technologies, then instead of ‘demographic dividend’ it will be a ‘demographic disaster’,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee said, we are not able to get the finest talent in education and research. They move to corporate sector due to their lack of sense of societal giving back and not thinking what society has invested on them so that they can bloom.

Student-teacher relation is also vital for the shaping of a student. Taking his example, he recalled the role of his teachers including those in Siuri Vidyasagar College in Siuri, for being what he is today.

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