[News and Views]

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    Abstract

    AN interesting announcement was made by Lord Reading in his speech as Viceroy at the opening of the Indian Legislature on January 20. A Royal Commission is about to be appointed: “generally to examine and report on the present conditions of agricultural and rural economy in British India.” There follow particular directions, of which one is glad to see that the first subject of investigation will be “the measures now being taken for the promotion of agricultural and veterinary research.” From time to time we have had occasion to direct attention to the remarkable success-particularly in plant-breeding-that has followed the labours of research workers at Pusa and other centres in India. There can be little doubt that the economic results that have already been achieved will impress the Commission, and that, as a result, a further extension of the work will be recommended. We hope the Commission will pursue the matter to the conclusion which the experience of state-directed research in Great Britain suggests, namely, that the successful exploitation of scientific research rests, in the last analysis, on fostering the supply of scientific workers. Considering the subject of economic botany alone, it is a somewhat remarkable fact that-save in some degree in the University of London-no universities in Great Britain undertake the specialised training of botanists in the economic aspects of the science. For some years past there has been a strong demand from India and the Dominions for trained geneticists, mycologists, and entomologists. It is not suggested that it would be possible to train men in England in the specific applications of these subjects in foreign countries, but training in the principles of the economic application of such sciences as genetics might well be attempted. As a corollary to this proposition, the new Commission might perhaps consider the desirability of assisting the universities by means of scholarship grants, or otherwise, following the time-honoured precedent of recruitment for the Indian Civil Service.

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