Science and Technology Policy

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At present India occupies the 9th rank in the world in terms of volume of scientific publications and with regards to patents filed is in the 12th spot globally. UNESCO's Global Science Report states that India's present global standing is commensurate when judged against the amount of professionals involved in research and development in the country.

This needs to go up by 66 percent by 2018 so that the level of investment by public sector companies in R&D can be sustained properly and the high degree of investment by the private sector entities in R&D can be matched.

The Science and Technology Policy 2013 is expected to set up a policy implementation group that, in the next couple of years, will be looking to get to work with the proposals made in the policy proper.

Science and Technology Policy 2013

The Union Government has consented to a new science and technology policy to replace the existing one that has been in vogue since 2003. It has been unveiled at the Indian Science Congress that was held on January 3, 2013 at Kolkata by Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India. This was the 100th edition of the event and was inaugurated by Pranab Mukherjee, the present President of India.

The policy has been created following a lot of discussion with representatives from various industries as well as noted scientific exponents. This is the first time that such a procedure has been followed. In all, 5400 people came to 7 meetings, following which the policy received approval on December 26.

Need for Science and Technology Policy 2013

Government officials are of the opinion that the science and technology policy will be emphasizing on doing research for the people and including more people in the whole process.

A similar sentiment has been echoed by senior scientists who opine that the very basic idea of the whole project is to make it popular among people. So a major amount of focus in the new policy will also be on the Indian population.

According to government officials the policy will also give confidence to companies to come ahead and incentivize innovation. The required processes will also be created or simplified to make this a reality.

They also feel that the Science and Technology Policy 2013 will be very beneficial for strengthening the base of research and development activities in India. It is expected that sufficient funding will be available in this stream so that technologies can be developed and then used properly.

They also opine that innovation can no more be regarded as a by-product of science and technology but is now an independent discipline in its own regard and very much a driving force of such domains.

This policy can also help build a spirit of entrepreneurship in India and start initiatives that will be treated as missions. It is also expected that research oriented activities will go up in the educational institutes especially the universities.

Aim of Science and Technology Policy 2013

The new policy will try to create a course for innovation as it will be the center of its focus. It will aim to set up research institutes and increase India's participation in leading science projects so that by 2020 India is regarded as one of the 5 leading names in the world of science.

The Science and Technology Policy 2013 will look to focus on the following areas with regards to opening new research institutes:
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical sciences
  • Earth sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Atmospheric sciences

When it comes to participating in global level science projects the emphasis will be on the lines of Hadron Particle Super Collider (Cern) project.

It will also look to establish links between scientific contributions as well as innovation systems and research oriented activities and make them integral parts of an agenda of economic growth that is more inclusive. It will also prioritize areas like importance and excellence.

The policy also looks to create ways for converting results of research and development related practices into applications that can be used in commercial and social domains. For this purpose, successful models will be replicated over time and new structures for association between publicly held and privately owned entities will be done.

The policy will look to encourage an ecosystem that is conducive for innovation and helps in achieving sustainable progress. The new science and technology policy will also aim to bring together companies in both public and private sector so that quantifiable social and economic results could be obtained.

The policy paper will also establish some basic rules for making sure that discoveries take lesser time and scientific solutions are delivered and diffused quickly so that India can achieve its aim of quick, more inclusive, and manageable growth.

As per this policy there will also be some changes to the intellectual property regulations whereby social benefits will be prioritized if public funds are involved in the entire procedure. Also patents created by public private companies will be shared.

Background of Science and Technology Policy 2013

The first few hints of the policy coming into being were provided at the Bhubaneshwar Science Congress 2011 when Vilasrao Deshmukh, the then Science Minister, had talked about such a policy.

The Department of Science and Technology had recently conducted an autonomous survey to be executed by Thomson Reuters whereby it was stated that research in India could be diversified to include up and coming domains such as drugs and computer science. At present scientific research in India is mostly focused on areas like tropical medicine and agriculture. The earlier domain receives a substantial amount of financial support from the government.

As per India's research portfolio, physical sciences are an area of strength. This is in spite of the commendable amount of resources that have been focused on plant and animal sciences, and agricultural sciences. These are some of the findings of the above mentioned survey.

India has almost done zero research during 1980s and 1990s and this was when other countries in Asia left it behind. The first ever science and technology policy of India had been introduced during 1958. It had aimed to encourage, maintain, and pave the way for the growth of scientific research and disciplines in their various forms.

The officials are of the opinion that it had been taken for granted at that time that technology will be a natural consequence of the program thanks to the varied scientific infrastructure present in India.

The Technology Policy Statement that had been formulated in 1983, attempted to focus on the requirement to get to a certain degree of self reliance and ability when it came to the technological domain.

The 2003 science and technology policy aimed to bring about a combination of both the domains. It had also advocated the need for more investment to be put into research and development so that important national issues could be addressed properly.

Effects of Science and Technology Policy 2013

Positive Effects
The new policy is also set to usher in science based careers that will make research an attractive proposition. It will also look to come up with a research and development infrastructure that is at par with global standards and will deal with the prominent areas of science.

The 2013 Science and Technology Policy also provides encouragement for women scientists, which is expected to play an important role in taking the country to global prominence in different scientific domains.

While launching the policy, Manmohan Singh has accepted that the stated goals of the same are fairly ambitious. As part of the plan, consideration will be given towards raising overall expenses in R&D to 2% of the GDP. At present the figure stands at 1%.

However, for this to be possible, the private sector will have to be involved in a greater way. S Jaipal Reddy, the Science and Technology Minister, considers this to be an inspirational policy.

Importance of Science and Technology Policy

The new Science and Technology (S&T) Policy is an integral part of the 12th Five Year Plan that has been consented to by the NDC (National Development Council). It mentions several initiatives that will help in the effective implementation of the new S&T policy.

Manmohan Singh feels that the S&T policy will play a crucial role in helping India achieve the following aims:
  • Quicker economic growth in the decades ahead
  • More inclusion at socio-economic levels
  • Greater sustainable development on the basis of improvements in energy and food sectors
  • Faster growth in primary social services like health and education
  • Environment
  • Jobs
  • Providing solutions to as many people as possible

Areas of Development

The Indian Prime Minister also opines that future S&T policies should prioritize the following areas in order to achieve a proper level of food security:
  • Shortage of water
  • Increasing land productivity
  • Inadequate land
  • Developing seeds that can withstand the vagaries of nature
  • New technology for saving water

He also feels that science and technology should be used to make sure that the gulf separating the have's and have not's can be lessened - this he thinks will play a major part in taking the country ahead in the future.

Last Updated on 01/25/2013

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