“Today, not as a former President but as a citizen of India, I want greater investment in education and research and the country will benefit from this,” Mukherjee said.
While delivering the endowment lecture at the Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, the former President expressed resentment over the dwindling budget towards education and R&D in the country.
“In 1991, the budget on education was six per cent of the GDP but in 2018-19 the Union budget allocation is just 3.6 per cent of the national GDP, though the allocation of INR 80,500 crore may seem to be a huge sum,” he said.
Mukherjee said that the country will have the largest young population by 2025, becoming the biggest workforce in the world.
“If we are unable to convert this population into the suitable workforce and not able to create jobs by adopting new technologies, then instead of ‘demographic dividend’ it will be a ‘demographic disaster’,” he added.
He further said that the country is not able to get the finest talent in education and research as most of the students move to corporate sector due to their lack of sense of social giving back.
Citing the example of Germany that stood strong even during the Eurozone crisis, he said it was possible because of its continuous focus on R&D.