S&T Minister and new PSA discuss the way forward on India’s science policy

Dr. Jitendra Singh asked Prof Ajay K Sood to come out with a draft policy to identify potential startups in the country to make them sustainable

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New Delhi: The newly appointed Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government, Prof Ajay Kumar Sood, called on the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh on 27th April.
Dr. Singh asked Prof Sood to come out with a draft policy to identify potential startups in the country to make them sustainable through appropriate funding and technological interventions and urged for proactive hunting of start-ups to meet their funding needs through organisations like the Technology Development Board (TDB) and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) under the Ministry of Science and Technology. He also mooted the idea of roping in Industry for giving a big push to the start-up ecosystem.
The Minister also discussed with the Principal Scientific Advisor the formulation of a roadmap for effective implementation of an integrated approach in science and technology for a sustainable future. He underlined the need for constant brainstorming to reach the various targets set for 2030: enable India to be among the top 5 in terms of quality of research outcome, provide for at least 30% participation of women in science, making India to be among the top 3 global leaders in STI and helping India achieve Atma Nirbharta in technology.
Referring to the setting up of a common portal for all fellowships, grants, and scholarship schemes by all Departments, Dr. Singh advised Prof Sood to explore the possibility of integrating the scholarships and grants of Ministries of Education and Minority Affairs into the portal and for that to establish communication with these Ministries soon.
Similarly, Dr. Jitendra Singh flagged the issue of the Unified Media Technology Centre (UMTC) at Vigyan Prasar and stressed that the same must be made fully functional within a month. He said, the requirement of budget to fulfill this activity may be taken care of appropriately and at the same time, Vigyan Prasar should focus on more visuals and creative media in focused themes.
Dr. Jitendra Singh noted that taking a cue from Prime Minister Modi’s out-of-box approach, in the recent past all the seven different Departments and Ministries related to Science, Science & Technology, Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Earth Sciences, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Atomic Energy and Space held brainstorming sessions with each of the line Ministries like Agriculture, Jal Shakti, Railways, Health, Highways, etc.
He also reviewed the progress of the National Science Conclave to be convened soon and suggested that thematic and state-specific discussions could be included in the Conclave involving states, industry representatives, and other stakeholders. He stressed that integration of various departments and avoiding overlapping activities will result in better output for every department.
He further asked the Principal Scientific Adviser to oversee the priority implementation of S&T solutions to 200 odd problems received from 38 line Ministries. CSIR is to lead the implementation on priority by coordinating with various departments and the same should be completed within 2 months, he said.