New Delhi: Ahead of the centenary session of Indian Science Congress in Kolkata, the Union Cabinet approved a new science, technology and innovation policy which will be released by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the Science Congress to chart a road map on innovation. The new policy document is an update of the 2003 science and technology policy, with a clear focus on innovation, establishing research institutes and participation in mega science projects with an aim to positioning itself among the top five scientific powers in the world by 2020. First clues on the new policy came in the last year’s Science Congress in Bhubaneswar when then Science Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh stated that the policy would be dedicated to the nation soon. The policy aims to promote an innovation eco-system for inclusive and sustainable growth and bringing private and public sector industries under an umbrella for delivering “measurable economic and social outcomes.” The policy document will set up ground rules for accelerating the pace of discovery, diffusion and delivery of science-led solutions for serving aspirational goals of India for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth. It will include careers in science, making research attractive and establishing world-class infrastructure for R&D in frontier areas of science. Recently, an independent survey commissioned by the department of science and technology suggested diversification of Indian research to emerging areas like computer sciences and drug discovery rather than being grounded in traditional areas like agriculture and tropical medicine that receives substantial government funding. India’s research portfolio showed strength in the physical sciences, despite resources being dedicated to agricultural sciences and plant and animal sciences, suggests the analysis carried out by Thomson Reuters. Indian research output was virtually stagnant in the 1980s and 1990s when other Asian countries overtaken India. Incidentally, the 100th session of the Science Congress will give the first opportunity to PM Dr Manmohan Singh and Trinamool Congress leader Ms Mamata Banerjee to share dais since they parted ways in September. Two and a half months later, the former railway minister decided to chart a new course because of her opposition to Congress’s stand on removal of subsidy on LPG cylinders and permitting FDI in multi-brand retail. Even though a National Development Council meeting is scheduled for December 27 to approve the 12th five year plan document, West Bengal is likely to be represented by its Finance Minister Mr Amit Mitra and not by the chief minister.
Source: Deccan Herald