National Science Policy: A Close Look

 

Author: Parveen Kaswan (Follow)

 

No doubt 21st century is considered rightly  as the age of science and innovation by experts and general public.  Every society and country wants to be a pioneer in this sector. On the same track we unveiled country’s New Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy 2013 this week, in 100th science congress. The theme selected for the centenary session is “Science for shaping the future of India”.

In major form the policy talks of raising gross expenditure in R&D to two per cent of GDP from the current one per cent in this decade by encouraging enhanced private sector contribution. According to policy we need to modify the intellectual property regime to provide for marching rights for social good when supported by public funds and co-sharing of patents generated in the public private partnership mode. The (STI) policy also seeks to trigger an ecosystem for innovative abilities to flourish by leveraging partnerships among diverse stakeholders and by encouraging and facilitating enterprises to invest in innovations”.

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According to scientific community itself the field of science and research in our country is not very attractive one. The STI policy 2013 also talks about  making  careers in science, research and innovation attractive by establishing world-class infrastructure for R&D for gaining global leadership in some select frontier areas of science.

Some more key features of the STI Policy 2013 include:

  • To increase the number of full time equivalent of research and development personnel in India by at least 66 per cent of the present strength in 5 years.
  • Increasing accessibility, availability and affordability of innovations especially for women, differently-abled and disadvantaged sections of society is also a focus area of the policy.

In a good move for the proper implementation of policy, there is a provision of establishing a ‘policy implementation group’  by the Department of Science and Technology. The purpose of establishing this special group is to  operationalise the proposals smoothly within the next two years of the implementation of policy.

All the plans and Ideas are very noble and we hope the implementation group will also function accordingly. One thing that we are really missing here in current plan is the proper study of the achievements and failures of earlier targets. Even India  in 2003 set itself an ambitious  goal: to increase its research and development investment from under 1% of its GDP to 2% by 2007. And after Ten years  in 2013, India’s targets are the same.  Like the 2003 policy, We are on the same track and on same argument also as India can only achieve a target of 2% GDP spending on research if the private sector expands its investment and points to a need to create an environment conducive to private R&D investments.

Yes expert are right when they are talking about lack of innovation in India, and well said that (Jagadish Chandra) Bose developed the idea of wireless (communications), but the discovery of radio was by Marconi, C.V. Raman discovered the Raman Effect, but Raman scanners were developed abroad. There are many more such examples and many reasons can be drawn out of it. One of the main reason  is the lack of  approach to transform the ideas/theories into innovative products. To develop a country by their own efforts, innovation and research are most important factors.

Even after a complete decade of our ambitious plan, India’s research and development investment remains under 1% of its GDP. Everything  becomes clear when we look on the data which shows India’s investment in R&D in 2010 was 24.8 billion USD, well below the US (398 billion), Japan (148 billion), China (102 billion), Germany (72 billion), Mexico (56 billion), France (43 billion), and South Korea and the UK (both 41 billion). Data is from a report commissioned by the department of science and technology.

Making new plans and policies are not going to serve the purpose when we are not looking at loop holes of older one and not learning the lessons from past failures. We are putting such targets but what is stopping us from achieving them? Urgent review is required.

 

Post By Parveen Kaswan (65 Posts)

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