A student does his MSc and then heads for Outer Ring Road instead of a PhD because…well, because the companies on Outer Ring Road pay more to do mindless repetitive tasks than a professor at a university would earn trying to build a knowledge society. It’s a triumph of materialism that has infected every part of our culture: from politics to economics and medicine to applied art. Or so we like to believe. But, there are a couple of flaws in the argument. Even if a student wanted to pursue research, where are the universities and the faculty to ensure the quality of research that students aspire for?
So here we are, seemingly in a spiral of hopelessness: To begin with, we lack a culture of research; adding to it is the fact that faculty and facilities don’t quite encourage a life of academic and scientific pursuit. Let’s phrase it another way: We just don’t have the right fuel to fire a knowledge society. But, can we stop blaming the knowledge economy and the pay cheques that come with it?
In 1985, Indian researchers accounted for 12,500 research papers indexed by Thomson Reuters. By 2000, India began to see a remarkable growth in its scientific output. By 2007, more than 27,000 papers were indexed by Thomson Reuters. ..... Indian desire to pursue research hasn’t exactly died. Far from it. But great Indian institutions and inspiring faculty to support the desire to pursue knowledge have slowly vanished.
However, this articles ignores two main points.
First, the number of papers published from India have doubled from 1985 to 2007 (as stated by the author); however, China has grown 100 fold. Thus, our growth may be "remarkable" in terms of numbers, but in terms of % output compared to the rest of the world, the output has actually remained stagnant from 1985 to 2007. In terms of growth with respect to other developing countries, our growth has actually decreased.
Secondly, the author says that the great Indian institutions and inspiring faculty have slowly vanished. Why? The current state of affairs is such that a graduating B.Tech from IIT, a Ph.D from IIT and an assistant professor at IIT all get the same salaries. While it is understandable that a few will be keen on research and pursue it irrespective of monetary benefits, it is not possible to build a large number of universities and institutions that will attract the best researchers. The author of the above article asks, "where are the universities and the faculty to ensure the quality of research that students aspire for?" but one may ask, "What has brought about this situation that even the best institutions in India are unable to fill their faculty positions with good scientists?"