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Singh Makes Science Election Issue in Reelection Bid

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the ruling Congress Party today made science an important element in his party’s election manifesto for the upcoming polls for the Indian Parliament that kick off on 16 April 2009.

In its 33-page manifesto, the oldest political party in India says, "We will carry out a massive renewal of our extensive science and technology infrastructure." It also states:

One of the most outstanding legacies of [former prime minister] Jawaharlal Nehru is the vast infrastructure for science and technology that India possesses and which has made so many far-reaching contributions to the country’s progress—in agriculture, nuclear energy, defense, space, industry, energy, telecom and IT. The Indian National Congress is firmly committed to extend full support to the modernization and expansion of our science and technology institutions and will ensure that they attract and retain the best talent from India and abroad.

Recounting the culmination of the Indo-U.S. Civilian Nuclear Agreement as a major achievement, the manifesto suggests it could "yield handsome results." It goes on to promise "a very significant increase in the share of nuclear power, both through domestic and imported technology." The party also tom-tomed the massive expansion in higher education that it undertook in the past 2 years by opening eight new Indian Institutes of Technology, seven new Indian Institutes of Management, five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, 30 new Central Universities, 20 new Indian Institutes of Information Technology, and 374 new colleges in educationally deprived districts.