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'I called funding situation idiotic, not politicians'

Last updated on: November 18, 2013 17:12 IST

In an apparent damage control after his angry outbursts targeting politicians, Bharat Ratna awardee Prof CNR Rao on Monday said he was only signalling that "inadequate" funding of science in the country was an "idiotic" situation.

The 79-yar-old eminent scientist suggested that he never called politicians 'idiots', seeking to clarify his outburst that raised eyebrows, just a day after the government named him for the country' highest civilian award, along with cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar.

Rao's assertions came even as Union Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy said he agreed with Rao's views that sufficient funds are not being earmarked for scientific research in the country.

"Our investment is not good that is a bit idiotic… that's all I said... not in anger...I'm not an angry man…. I wanted something. Unfortunately, they don't understand the priority. That is what I said," Rao told reporters in Bengaluru, as he sought to explain his outburst.

"It is not an anger you know. I didn't call somebody an idiot. These are two different things. Unfortunately, use of language has been .... I should not use, I will never use that word again because I didn't realise people will take it as somebody being called as idiot. I didn't call anyone idiot."

Venting the dissatisfaction in the scientific community over "inadequate" funding, the Chairman of Prime Minister's Scientific Advisory Council had said "....Why the hell these idiots these politicians have given so little for us...for the money that government has given to science sector, we have done much more."

The science sector gets only 20 to 30 per cent of the amount asked from government for its research work, he said.

"First of all, they should understand the relative importance of science, they should understand to invest in proportion to our requirement so that India shines…for that we have to understand what is required. It is not being understood and that is bit of an idiotic situation that is what I meant."

Stating that the word is used in British Parliament, Rao said, "prime minister is doing idiotic things -- they will say, nobody will be upset by that. I don't know why you are upset here."

In Reddy's view, Rao is right on the issue of funds.

"...He (Rao) is right because I do not disagree with him. Because the importance of science and technology is so high that any amount government allots is not adequate," Reddy told reporters in Delhi. 

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