Harsh Vardhan holds consultations with states for formulating new STI policy

Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday called on the states to join the exercise of building an evidence-driven, inclusive national science, technology and innovation policy (STIP) 2020, that would percolate to the grassroot level.

Vardhan was speaking, through video-conferencing, at a meeting with state ministers for consultation on STIP-2020, which is being formulated at present.

Welcoming the participants at the first-ever meeting with all state ministers together on the proposed STI Policy, he said “We would like to make this truly an inclusive policy in all aspects – each and every State should become an equal partner and should share ownership and responsibility not only in formulation of this policy but also in implementing them with full rigor.”

“This policy aims to re-energise our Scientific ecosystem and redefine the priorities and sectoral focus so as to directly translate our efforts in Science and Technology for the benefit of our society and the economy”, he said, adding that the current pandemic stands witness to the immediate need for indigenous STI development and growth that can be achieved through harmonised Centre-state relationships based on the ideals of cooperative federalism.

In this context, Vardhan pointed out that the consultation on STIP 2020 with state S&T Ministers is a milestone event towards building greater synergy between the Center and states and also among states. “This meeting looks forward to deliberating the processes that would bolster this inter-connectedness. To empower the STI ecosystem, there is a need to strengthen institutional linkages and joint funding systems. State S&T Councils must be reinvigorated as they remain crucial in achieving these goals,” he noted.

Outlining the previous National Science Policies – Science Policy Resolution 1958, Technology Policy Statement 1983, Science and Technology Policy 2003 and Science Technology and Innovation Policy 2013, the Union Minister said the past few years have witnessed accelerated growth placing India as a global STI leader in terms of publications, patents, and quality of research publications, per capita R&D expenditure, participation of women in extramural R&D projects.

India’s engagement in emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, inclusive and frugal innovation, several schemes have been implemented by the Centre and state governments to support and stimulate R&D culture among students and young researchers, the minister said.

The formulation of STIP 2020 is driven by 4 interrelated tracks, 21 expert-driven thematic groups, and focused public discussions. The process aims to define priority issues for the national STI ecosystem, recommendations with aligned implementation strategies, expected deliverables, and a rigorous monitoring mechanism.

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