Report on the proposed decision concluding an agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Republic of India

April 30, 2002

Brussels, 29 April 2002

FINAL A5-0137/2002 24 April 2002 * REPORT on the proposal for a Council decision concluding an agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Republic of India
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EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

With this Agreement on scientific and technological co-operation between the EC and India, India is after China, the Russian Federation and the Argentine Republic the latest country to link its Research activities to those of the EC. Co-operation between EU and India in the context of research is however nothing new. In the context of the "Co-operation for development" programme of the EU's research Framework Programmes, the Community and India already carried out research together. In the last six years, the EU has supported 42 projects. Under the 4th and 5th Research Framework Programme, a total of 53 projects have been funded.

The EU is India´s largest trading partner and biggest foreign investor. Yet, trade and investment between them is well below what it should be! India allocates 2.5bn (0.72% of its GDP) to research and technological development (RTD).

Research in India is managed by the government funded Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) that employs about 25,000 scientists and support staff. It is the world's largest public funded industrial R&D agency covering aerospace engineering, ocean sciences, molecular biology, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather and environment.

Industry contributes 17% of the total research budget in India and international collaboration in aeronautics and chemical engineering will enhance this.

In the last six years, the European Union (EU) has funded 42 technology and research based projects under its 4th and 5th Framework Programme. These projects allow Indian scientists and IT experts to collaborate with European institutions in research and development. The 42 projects carried out together in the last 6 years were worth 23 million Euros (£14.5m) and they focussed on:-

* health - e.g. poverty related diseases, child health, hygiene
* water - e.g. desertification, desalinisation, pesticides, water conservation
* fisheries - e.g. aquaculture
* food crops - e.g. soyabeans, agricultural biodiversity
* energy- e.g. renewables

The Agreement, signed by EU Commissioner Lamy (Trade) and Mr.Murli Manohar Joshi (Minister for Human Resource Development and Science & Technology), is supported by the rapporteur. This agreement will not only enable Indian scientists to participate in EU research activities, but will give access to European scientists in similar Indian programmes. Prior to the conclusion of the agreement, the European Parliament has to be consulted according to the Treaty.

The Agreement provides for:

* Participation of research institutions, other research entities and persons to RTD projects of the other side

* Pooling of RTD projects already implemented

* Visits and exchanges of scientists and technical experts

* Joint organisation of conferences and seminars

* Concerted actions for dissemination of results and exchange of experience

* Exchange and sharing of equipment and material and research facilities;

* Exchange of information on practices, laws and regulations.

The rapporteur wishes to highlight some areas where EU funding for Research & Development could be utilised most effectively in India - a country that offers scientific skills and appropriate infrastructure down to village level not found in sub-Saharan Africa.

a) HIV/AIDS:

The EU has allocated over 440m for R&D for HIV/AIDS over the next 5 years. Statistics on HIV/AIDS are often based on limited screening and, in the rapporteur's view, inaccurate. It is essential to screen a large number of people in different regions of a country taking into account social, religious and employment e.g. proximity to mines or urban areas and other factors so that a realistic "diagnostic" assessment is established. We need to determine the number who are infected but not ill; the number who are ill and receiving treatment; the number who are ill and have a secondary infection e.g. TB. Records of the age and sex of patient, type of treatment, toxic effects and life span from commencement of treatment would be valuable information in allocating funds for HIV/AIDS support in developing countries.

The EU should collaborate with India in establishing this data.

b) RENEWABLE ENERGY:

The developing countries cannot eradicate poverty without access to affordable renewable energy. The EU can utilise cost effectively Indian technology and scientific skills to develop simple affordable equipment that can be produced locally and which can transform wind and solar energy to electricity. Such access would transform rural economies of poor countries.

c) FOOD PROCESSING:

Most developing countries lose substantial revenue because their rural populations are unable to process, package and sell what they produce in a form that is deliverable and saleable in foreign markets. This is yet another field where the EU needs to use Indian technology and scientific skills to develop simple systems that can be implemented in rural areas.

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Full Text

European Parliament Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy - Rapporteur: Bashir Khanbhai

http://www.europarl.eu.int/home/default _en.htm

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