Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today unveiled the country’s new Science, Technology and Innovation policy at the inaugural session of the Centenary Celebrations of the Indian Science Congress. The policy plans to trigger an “ecosystem for innovative abilities” and achieve gender parity in science technology and innovation activities. “It seeks to accelerate the pace of discovery, diffusion and delivery of science-led solutions for serving the aspirational goals of India for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth,” a release said. Some of the key features of the policy include making careers in science and research attractive, enabling conversion of research and development output with societal and commercial applications, among others. One of the aims of the policy is to raise the gross expenditure in research and development to 2 per cent from the present one per cent of the GDP in this decade by encouraging enhanced private sector contribution. It will seek 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 five 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. Some of the key mechanisms for implementation of the policy include facilitating private sector investment in research and development, promoting establishment of research and development facilities on a PPP-basis, aligning venture capital and closing the gaps in translation of new findings at the grassroots and commercial space. To establish the implementation of the policy, the Department of Science and Technology will establish a ‘policy implementation group’ to “expeditiously operationalise the proposals within the next two years”.
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