(English) Lack of Fund hit NAST hard

NAST building, file photo, NMF.
NAST building, file photo, NMF.

KATHMANDU, Nepal–At a time the country is observing second National Science Day, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) is reportedly hit hard due to the lack of budget leading the hindrance for the development of science and Technology.

NAST officials complain the institution is in dire need of equipment and infrastructures to carry out basic research and experiments. In the current fiscal year, the government allocated Rs 150 million for NAST, which according to NAST officials is too meager. “Half of the amount allocated is spent on salaries of the NAST staff and a small amount is left for purchasing equipment and carrying out scientific experiments,” the Nagrik daily quoted newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of the NAST Jeeb Raj Pokharel as saying.

Pokharel complains that the sector never became priority of the government despite of physical facilities and manpower.

“We cannot launch scientific experiments in any sector due to budget crunch,” Dr Ishwar Khanal, chief of the faculty of science at NAST told.

Though many countries including India are investing one percent of their GDP for the development of science and technology, Nepal hardly spends less than 0.38 percent of its GDP for the sectors which is meager in compare to neighboring India and other developing countries which invest one percent of their GDP.

Pokharel also warns that unless the government allocates handsome budget like it allocates to security and health sectors, scientific innovation is not possible.

A 2010 census conducted by NAST in 2010 showed over 44,000 Nepalis were pursuing science in higher education inside and outside the country.

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