India likely to become water-stressed: Kasturirangan

Bangalore: India is likely to become water-stressed, a veteran space scientist warned, emphasising the need to step up research in key areas of preservation, optimisation and regeneration of the natural resource.

Planning Commission Member K Kasturirangan, who is also former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, said the country should address the question of water recycling, desalination, hydrological mapping and optimisation of water usage.

"India is likely to become water-stressed," he told PTI.

Kasturirangan also said there is a strong need to scale up research to improve efficiencies in energy production, and also on third-generation fuels bio-fuel, fuel cells, lithium ion batteries and electric mobility.

Referring to the 12th plan (2012-2017), he said, "Science and technology is going to be ambitious and the country is going to have an envelope of varied types of projects."

He said there would be a thrust on creating applications relating to socio-economic sectors dealing with water and energy, among others.

The aim during the five-year period is also to take Indias position from the current ninth to sixth in terms of number of publication of scientific papers, and grow the number of full-time research workers from the current 150,000 to 250,000, Kasturirangan said.

"Science and Technology gets a quantum jump in terms of government allocation (in the 12th plan)."

The governments intention is to increase its expenditure on research and development in science and technology to up to one per cent of the GDP and get the corporate sector to invest an additional one per cent by extending substantial support to high-risk projects, including prototype-building, among other initiatives, he added.

"The model is being worked out as to how we do that (to get more investment from corporate sector in the R&D spend)," Kasturirangan said.