The natural disaster which had struck Uttarakhand recently could repeat itself in whole of Himalayan range and it is imperative that scientists find out what really triggered the massive floods and landslides, Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy said on Monday. "We have a silly habit of politicising issues. What really happened we do not know... This problem could arise in the entire Himalayan range," Reddy said.
He called for more private investment in research and development and asked scientists to come out with innovations which would help alleviate the misery of India's teeming poor. Reddy said the government was committed to encouraging science despite "financial crunch". "You would rather cut down on defence than science," he said in an attempt to stress the importance of scientific research to India's future.
He hoped India would climb to the fifth rank in overall research output across the globe by 2015 from the current ninth position. The number of poor in India is unbearably high and the nature of it is shocking, he said.
"When you are in a village, you wonder if anything has changed for them since 19th century," Reddy said, exhorting scientists to come out with solutions which would simplify the lives of poor villagers. He was the chief guest at a function, NASI Scopus Young Scientist Awards, to honour nine young Indian scientists.