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R& D budget to be increased to one pc of GDP by 2018

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain has said
 
that research and development (R&D) budget will be increased to one percent of the Gross
 
Domestic Product (GDP) by 2018 for meeting modern world demands and making the country's
 
security unprecedented.  
 
He stated this while addressing a seminar on the "Role of Education, Science and Technology in
 
National Security," organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad in collaboration
 
with the University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore, here on Thursday.
 
The minister said that security was a broad concept and it did not only cover defence but also
 
technological innovations as well. During the last three years, the government has increased
 
resources for Higher Education despite financial constraints, said the Minister, adding that merit-
 
based selection has been made in the different departments of the Ministry and hopefully these
 
people will bring positive changes.
 
He said that budget for research had been increased four times to around 0.92 percent of the GDP
 
during last three years, which will be further increased to one percent of the GDP by 2018. "In
 
this era, knowledge is power and if we want to keep our boundaries and people safe, we do not
 
need to rely on latest defense gadgets only but we also need well-educated and technical people
 
to take responsibility," said the Minister, adding that directions have been issued to the Ministry
 
of Science and Technology and Defense Productions to come forward and share the demand-
 
supply capacity of each other.
 
He said that a number of MoUs have already been signed between the two ministries and further
 
were in process. This collaboration will cut down our foreign procurement charges to minimum
 
and save billions of national exchequer, he added.
 
The seminar was comprised two sessions which were attended by the top scientists, rectors and
 
educationists who emphasised that there have been successes; more work need to be done to
 
advance the role of scientific education for the national security of the country. They highlighted
 
the significance of the role played by Science and Technology, and reiterated that it is not merely
 
confined to defence-related matters. It was stressed that there was a need to organise frequent
 
sessions of academic discourse between the universities and the policy making institutions of the
 
government.
 
Ambassador Masood Khan, Director General ISSI, said that Science, Education and Technology
 
have a strong nexus with national security. In the heyday of Muslim Civilisation, Science and
 
Technology was given utmost importance and this formed the basis of renaissance in Europe.
 
"Today, the Islamic world is not doing well as they have stopped focusing on education, which
 
in turn has hindered their national security. Pakistan, on the whole, has done well in Science and
 
Technology, and when it decided to go nuclear in the 60's it used its own pool of scientists to
 
develop this nuclear capability," he added.
 
Chairman Board of Governors ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood said that Science and
 
Technology was an essential part of national security.
 
"National security is a holistic and dynamic concept and high literacy rate can aid the state in
 
achieving comprehensive security especially through focus on Applied and Practical Sciences,"
 
he commented.

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