CNR: A great builder of institutions

M. Somasekhar
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C.N.R. Rao
C.N.R. Rao

If Sachin Tendulkar has been the most prolific run-getter for India, his equivalent in the scientific field is surely Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao, popularly known as CNR.

It is perhaps coincidence that the contributions of these two icons should be recognised at the highest level with the conferring of the Bharat Ratna on Saturday.

While the master blaster’ ‘has hung up his boots after 24 years at the crease, CNR continues to relentlessly pursue his passion — scientific research.

In a career spanning over half a century, CNR has published over 1,400 research papers in top scientific journals and written or edited close to 50 books.

CNR is known for stellar contributions in the fields of hybrid and nano-materials, the thinner than human hair stuff that promises to revolutionise several fields ranging from healthcare to defence.

Talent spotter

At 79, CNR is one of the foremost proponents in his chosen field — chemistry. “He publishes on an average 40 papers a year and three books. He lives science and is a fighter for scientists. He is a great builder of institutions, and spots talent,” said R.A. Mashelkar, former Director-General of CSIR.

The tough-talking Professor has been a familiar figure at two premier scientific research houses in Bangalore — the Indian Institute of Science and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Scientific Research — for over 40 years.

Ever approachable to young researchers, CNR minces no words when it comes to his pet peeve, the lack of talent taking up the cause of basic research.

The obsession with Information Technology is draining out bright science students and leading to a shortage of talent in cutting-edge research, he has often lamented.

The Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister has won many major awards, including the Third World Academy of Sciences Award. Only the Nobel has eluded him, say well wishers.

Beginning with a stint at IIT-Kanpur, in 1963, CNR has had his share of controversies, including allegations of allowing plagiarism in one of his scientific publications in 2011.

After Sir C.V. Raman, CNR is the second scientist to receive the country’s highest honour.

Former President and India’s ‘missile man’ A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is the other eminent technologist to have received the Bharat Ratna.

(This article was published on November 16, 2013)
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Union Budget 2014-15 Highlights

  • Following are the highlights of the Union Budget 2014-15 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on July 10, 2014
  • Income-tax exemption limit raised by Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh and for senior citizens to Rs 3 lakh
  • Exemption limit for investment in financial instruments under 80C raised to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.
  • Investment limit in PPF raised to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh
  • Deduction limit on interest on loan for self-occupied house raised to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh.
  • Committee to look into all fresh tax demands for indirect transfer of assets in wake of retrospective tax amendments of 2012
  • Fiscal deficit target retained at 4.1% of GDP for current fiscal and 3.6% in FY 16
  • Rs 150 crore allocated for increasing safety of women in large cities
  • LCD, LED TV become cheaper
  • Cigarettes, pan masala, tobacco, aerated drinks become costlier
  • 5 IIMs to be opened in HP, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan
  • 5 more IITs in Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
  • 4 more AIIMS like institutions to come up in AP, West Bengal, Vidarbha in Maharashtra and Poorvanchal in UP
  • Govt proposes to launch Digital India’ programme to ensure broad band connectivity at village level
  • National Rural Internet and Technology Mission for services in villages and schools, training in IT skills proposed
  • Rs 100 cr scheme to support about 600 new and existing Community Radio Stations
  • Rs 100 cr for metro projects in Lucknow and Ahmedabad
  • Govt expects Rs 9.77 lakh crore revenue crore from taxes
  • Govt’s plan expenditure pegged at Rs 5.75 lakh crore and non-Plan at Rs 12.19 lakh crore.
  • Rs 2,037 crore set aside for Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called ‘Namami Gange’
  • Kisan Vikas Patra to be reintroduced, National Savings Certificate with insurance cover to be launched
  • FDI limit to be hiked to 49% pc in defence, insurance
  • Disinvestment target fixed at Rs 58,425 crore
  • Gross borrowings pegged at Rs 6 lakh crore
  • Contours of GST to be finalised this fiscal; Govt to look into DTC proposal.
  • ‘Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya New Teachers Training Programme’ launched with initial sum of Rs 500 crore
  • Govt provides Rs 500 crore for rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri migrants
  • Set aside Rs 11,200 crore for PSU banks capitalisation
  • Govt in favour of consolidation of PSU banks
  • Govt considering giving greater autonomy to PSU banks while making them accountable
  • Rs 7,060 crore for setting up 100 Smart Cities
  • A project on the river Ganga called ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ for inland waterways between Allahabad and Haldia; Rs 4,200 crore set aside for the purpose.
  • Govt proposes Ultra Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology
  • Expenditure management commission to be setup; will look into food and fertilizer subsides
  • Impasse in coal sector will be resolved; coal will be provided to power plants already commissioned or to be commissioned by March 2015
  • Long term capial gains tax for mutual funds doubled to 20%; lock-in period increased to 3 years
  • Rs 4,000 cr set aside to increase flow of cheaper credit for affordable housing to the urban poor/EWS/LIG segment.
  • EPFO to launch the ‘Uniform Account Number’ service to facilitate portability of Provident Fund accounts
  • Mandatory wage ceiling of subscription to EPS (Employee Pension Scheme) raised from Rs 6,500 to Rs 15,000
  • Minimum pension increased to Rs 1,000 per month
  • Union Budget 2014: List of products getting cheaper/ costlier

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today spared the common man from price hikes by keeping duties on commonly used day-to-day items unchanged but made it costlier for smokers and tobacco consumers with a steep increase in excise rate in tax proposals in Budget 2014—15.
  • Following is a list of what will be cheaper and costlier:
  • CRT television
  • LED/LCD TVs especially below 19 inch
  • Footwear priced between Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per pair
  • Soaps
  • E—book readers
  • Desktop, laptops and tablets
  • RO based water purifiers
  • LED Lights, fixtures and lamps
  • Pre forms of precious and semi—precious stones
  • Sports Gloves
  • Branded petrol
  • Matchbox
  • Life micro insurance policies
  • HIV/AIDS drugs and diagnostic kits
  • DDT insecticides
  • Cigarettes
  • Aerated drinks with sugar
  • Pan masala
  • Gutka and chewing tobacco
  • Jarda scented tobacco
  • Radio Taxi
  • Imported electronic products
  • Portable X—ray machines
  • Half cut/broken diamonds.


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