India has a long and distinguished tradition in science and technology from the ancient times. The great achievements during the last century, the latter half prior to independence, have been related largely to pure research. At the time of independence, our scientific and technological infrastructure was neither strong nor organized as compared to the developed world. This had resulted in our being technologically dependent on the skills and expertise available in other countries. There is now a reservoir of expertise well acquainted with the most modern advances in basic and applied areas that is equipped to make choices between available technologies, to absorb readily new technologies and provide a framework for future national development.
Department of Science & Technology (DST) was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of Science & Technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country. The Department has major responsibilities for specific projects and programmes as listed below:
1. Formulation of policies relating to Science and Technology.
2. Matters relating to the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cabinet (SACC).
3. Promotion of new areas of Science and Technology with special emphasis on emerging areas.
5. Coordination and integration of areas of Science & Technology having cross-sectoral linkages in which a number of institutions and departments have interest and capabilities.
6. Undertaking or financially sponsoring scientific and technological surveys, research design and development, where necessary.
7. Support and Grants-in-aid to Scientific Research Institutions, Scientific Associations and Bodies.
8. All matters concerning:
(a) Science and Engineering Research Council;
(b) Technology Development Board and related Acts
(c) National Council for Science and Technology Communication;
(d) National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board;
(e) International Science and Technology Cooperation
(f) Autonomous Institutions relating to the subject under the Department of Science and Technology including Institute of Astro-physics, and Institute of Geo-magnetism;
(g) Professional Science Academies funded by Department of Science and Technology;
(h) The Survey of India, and National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization;
(i) National Spatial Data Infrastructure and promotion of G.I.S;
(j) The National Innovation Foundation, Ahmadabad.
9. Matters commonly affecting Scientific and technological departments/organizations/ institutions e.g. financial, personnel, purchase and import policies and practices.
10. Management Information Systems for Science and Technology and coordination thereof.
11. Matters regarding Inter-Agency/Inter-Departmental coordination for evolving science and technology missions.
12. Matters concerning domestic technology particularly the promotion of ventures involving the commercialization of such technology other than those under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
13. All other measures needed for the promotion of science and technology and their application to the development and security of the nation.
14. Matters relating to institutional Science and Technology capacity building including setting up of new institutions and institutional infrastructure.
15. Promotion of Science and Technology at the State, District, and Village levels for grass- roots development through State Science and Technology Councils and other mechanisms.
16. Application of Science and Technology for weaker sections, women and other disadvantaged sections of Society.
Science, Technology & Innovation Policy 2013
• Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) have emerged as the major drivers of national development globally. As India aspires for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Indian STI system, with the advantages of a large demographic dividend and the huge talent pool, will need to play a defining role in achieving these national goals. The national STI enterprise must become central to national development.
• Scientific research utilizes money to generate knowledge and, by providing solutions, innovation converts knowledge into wealth and/or value. Innovation thus implies S&T based solutions that are successfully deployed in the economy or the society.
• It has assumed centre stage in the developmental goals of nations. Paradigms of innovation have become country and context specific. India has, hitherto not accorded due importance to innovation as an instrument of policy. The national S&T enterprise must now embrace S&T led innovation as a driver for development.
• India has declared 2010-20 as the “Decade of Innovation”. The Government has stressed the need to enunciate a policy to synergize science, technology and innovation and has also established the National Innovation Council (NlnC). The STI Policy 2013 is in furtherance of these pronouncements. It aims to bring fresh perspectives to bear on innovation in the Indian context.
The key elements of the STI Policy are as follows:
• Promoting the spread of scientific temper amongst all sections of society.
• Enhancing skill for applications of science among the young from all social strata.
• Making careers in science, research and innovation attractive enough for talented and bright minds.
• Establishing world class infrastructure for R&D for gaining global leadership in some select frontier areas of science.
• Positioning India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020.
• Linking contributions of science, research and innovation system with the inclusive economic growth agenda and combining priorities of excellence and relevance.
• Creating an environment for enhanced Private Sector Participation in R&D.
• Enabling conversion of R&D outputs into societal and commercial applications by replicating hitherto successful models as well as establishing of new PPP structures.
• Seeding S&T-based high-risk innovations through new mechanisms.
• Fostering resource-optimized, cost-effective innovations across size and technology domains.
• Triggering changes in the mindset and value systems to recognize, respect and reward performances which create wealth from S&T derived knowledge.
• Creating a robust national innovation system.
Attracting Private Sector Investments in R&D: The Public funds for partnerships with the private sector for social and public good objectives will be earmarked as a new policy initiative. A National Science, Technology and Innovation Foundation will be established as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative for investing critical levels of resources in innovative and ambitious projects. The focus of the policy will be as follows:
• Facilitating private sector investment in R&D centres in India and overseas.
• Promoting establishment of large R&D facilities in PPP mode with provisions for benefits sharing.
• Permitting multi stakeholders participation in the Indian R&D system.
• Treating R&D in the private sector at par with public institutions for availing public funds.
• Bench marking of R&D funding mechanisms and patterns globally.
• Modifying IPR policy to provide for marching rights for social good when supported by public funds and for co-sharing IPRs generated under PPP.
• Launching newer mechanisms for nurturing Technology Business Incubators (TBls) and science-led entrepreneurship.
• Providing incentives for commercialization of innovations with focus on green manufacturing.
– The guiding vision of aspiring Indian STI enterprise is to accelerate the pace of discovery and delivery of science-led solutions for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth. A strong and viable Science, Research and Innovation System for High Iechnology-Ied path for India (SRISHTI) is the goal of the new STI policy.
National Intellectual Property Rights Policy
• The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will endeavor for a “Creative India; Innovative India”
• The National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. The Policy recognises the abundance of creative and innovative energies that flow in India, and the need to tap into and channelise these energies towards a better and brighter future for all.
• The National IPR Policy is a vision document that aims to create and exploit synergies between all forms of intellectual property (IP), concerned statutes and agencies. It sets in place an institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and review. It aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario.
• This policy shall weave in the strengths of the Government, research and development organizations, educational institutions, corporate entities including MSMEs, start-ups and other stakeholders in the creation of an innovation-conducive environment, which stimulates creativity and innovation across sectors, as also facilitates a stable, transparent and service-oriented IPR administration in the country.
• The Policy recognizes that India has a well-established TRIPS-compliant legislative, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, which meets its international obligations while utilizing the flexibilities provided in the international regime to address its developmental concerns. It reiterates India’s commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPS agreement.
• While IPRs are becoming increasingly important in the global arena, there is a need to increase awareness on IPRs in India, be it regarding the IPRs owned by oneself or respect for others’ IPRs. The importance of IPRs as a marketable financial asset and economic tool also needs to be recognised. For this, domestic IP filings, as also commercialization of patents granted, need to increase. Innovation and sub-optimal spending on R&D too are issues to be addressed.
• The broad contours of the National IPR Policy are as follows:
Vision Statement: An India where creativity and innovation are stimulated by Intellectual Property for the benefit of all; an India where intellectual property promotes advancement in science and technology, arts and culture, traditional knowledge and biodiversity resources; an India where knowledge is the main driver of development, and knowledge owned is transformed into knowledge shared.
Mission Statement: Stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced intellectual property rights system in India to:
• foster creativity and innovation and thereby, promote entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic and cultural development, and
• focus on enhancing access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection, among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance.
Objectives: The Policy lays down the following seven objectives:
1) IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
2) Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs.
3) Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights owners with larger public interest.
4) Administration and Management – To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.
5) Commercialization of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialization.
6) Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements.
7) Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.
These objectives are sought to be achieved through detailed action points. The action by different Ministries/ Departments shall be monitored by DIPP which shall be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of IPRs in India.
National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020
The National Biotechnology Development Strategy – 2015-2020 aims to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub. It intends to launch a major mission, backed with significant investments, for the creation of new biotech products, create a strong infrastructure for R&D and commercialization, and empower India’s human resources scientifically and technologically.
The envisaged mission is to:
1) Provide impetus to utilising the knowledge and tools to the advantage of Humanity
2) Launch a major well directed mission backed with significant investment for generation of new Biotech Products
3) Empower scientifically and technologically India’s incomparable Human Resource
4) Create a strong Infrastructure for R&D and Commercialisation
5) Establish India as a world class Bio-manufacturing Hub
The Key elements of the Strategy are as follows:
• Building a Skilled Workforce and Leadership
• Revitalizing the knowledge environment at par with the growing bio-economy
• Enhance Research opportunities in basic, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary sciences
• Encourage use-inspired discovery research
• Focus on biotechnology tools for inclusive development
• Nurturing innovation, translational capacity and entrepreneurship
• Ensuring a transparent, efficient and globally best Regulatory system and communication strategy
• Biotechnology cooperation- Fostering global and national alliances
• Strengthen Institutional Capacity with redesigned governance models
• Create a matrix of measurement of processes as well as outcome
The key elements would be implemented in collaboration and partnership with Other Ministries, Departments, State Governments and international agencies towards achieving:
A) Making India ready to meet the challenge of achieving US$100bn by 2025
B) Launching Four Major Missions – Healthcare, Food and Nutrition, Clean Energy and Education
C) Creating a Technology Development and Translation network across the country with global partnership-5 new clusters, 40 Biotech incubators, 150 TTOs, 20 Bio-connect centres
D) Strategic and focussed investment in building the Human Capital by creating a Life Sciences and Biotechnology Education Council
Technology Vision Document 2035
• The Prime Minister unveiled the ‘Technology Vision Document 2035’ while inaugurating the 103rd Indian Science Congress on 3rd January 2016. The document foresees the Indians of 2035, and technologies required for fulfilling their needs. It is not a visualization of technologies that will be available in 2035, but a vision of where our country and its citizens should be in 2035 and how technology should bring this vision to fruition.
• The document is dedicated to late Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India.
• The Aim of this ‘Technology Vision Document 2035’ is to ensure the Security, Enhancing of Prosperity, and Enhancing Identity of every Indian, which is stated in the document as “Our Aspiration” or “Vision Statement” in all languages of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
• The Prime Minister has hoped that the 12 Sectoral Technology roadmaps being prepared by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, (TIFAC), which is also the author of this ‘Technology Vision 2035’ document, would excite our scientists and decision makers. Roadmaps, when prepared, will be presented to the Government of India and they would lead for further adoption of technologies in those sectors.
The 12 identified sectors of Vision Document are as follows:
2) Medical Sciences & Healthcare
3) Food and Agriculture
12) Information and Communication Technology
• The Vision documents also identifies twelve (12) prerogatives- (six for meeting individual needs and six for the collective needs) that should be available to each and every Indian. These are as follows:
• Clean air and potable water
• Food and nutritional security
• Universal healthcare and public hygiene
• 24×7 energy
• Decent habitat
• Quality education, livelihood and creative opportunities
• Safe and speedy mobility
• Public safety and national security
• Cultural diversity and vibrancy
• Transparent and effective governance
• Disaster and climate resilience
• Eco-friendly conservation of natural resources
– The vision document also makes a mention of three critical essential prerequisites or Transversal Technologies i.e., materials, manufacturing, and Information and Communication technology (ICT) to provide the foundation upon which all other technologies would be constructed.
– The document also talks of required infrastructure which it says primarily include relevant knowledge institutions besides ports, highways, airports, railways, cold chains, etc. Among the essential prerequisites, it also mentions fundamental research in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and other allied sciences.
– There has also been a raging debate on the Social Impact of technology and the choice between capital intensive and manpower intensive. Capital intensive technology, especially in India with abundant human resources, has been projected as detrimental to the use of ‘Manpower’ as it is argued that it would reduce jobs. The Vision Document seeks to bust this myth by arguing in favor of judicious policy and conscious planning in employing technology to impart new skills to the manpower and fulfill needs of the society. It visualizes technology as a great leveler rather than as an enhancer of social stratification.
– In order to overcome these challenges, the Vision Document 2035 envisages a rational assessment of the capabilities and constraints of the Indian Technological Landscape. It categorizes technologies into a five-fold classification from an Indian perspective which is as follows:
A) Technology Leadership – niche technologies in which we have core competencies, skilled manpower, infrastructure and a traditional knowledge base e.g., Nuclear Energy, Space Science.
B) Technology Independence – strategic technologies that we would have to develop on our own as they may not be obtainable from elsewhere e.g., Defence sector.
C) Technology Innovation – linking disparate technologies together or making a breakthrough in one technology and applying it to another e.g., solar cells patterned on chlorophyll based synthetic pathway are a potent future source of renewable energy.
D) Technology Adoption – obtain technologies from elsewhere, modify them according to local needs and reduce dependence on other sources e.g., foreign collaboration in the sectors of rainwater harvesting, agri-biotech, desalination, energy efficient buildings.
E) Technology Constraints – areas where technology is threatening and problematic i.e. having a negative social or environmental impact because of serious legal and ethical issues e.g., Genetically Modified (GM) Crops.
– The Vision Document, in a separate section, gives a ‘Call to Action’ to all the key stakeholders. It brings to notice that for long term sustainability of India’s technological prowess, it is important that
1) Technical Education Institutions engage in advanced research on a large scale leading to path-breaking innovations.
2) Government enhances its financial support from the current 1% to the long-envisaged 2% of the GDP.
3) The number of full-time equivalent Scientists in the core research sector should increase.
4) Private Sector Participation and Investment in evolving technologies that is readily deployable and is translatable from lab to field thereby increasing efficiency in terms of technology and economic returns.
5) Academia-Intelligentsia-Industry connect is established via idea exchange, innovative curricula design, based on the needs of the industry, industry-sponsored student internships and research fellowships inter alia.
6) Creation of a Research Ecosystem so as to achieve the translation of research to technology product/process by integrating students, researchers and entrepreneurs.
– The document also identifies three key activities as a part of the ‘Call to Action’. The first being knowledge creation. It says that India cannot afford not to be in the forefront of the knowledge revolution, either applied or pure. The second activity that cannot be reflected, it says is ecosystem design for innovation and development. The document again interestingly says that the primary responsibility for ecosystem design must necessarily rests with government authorities. A third key activity that it mentions is technology deployment with launching certain national missions involving specific targets, defined timelines requiring only a few carefully defined identified players.
– While this Vision document walks towards the future taking into consideration the country as a whole, the technology roadmap of each sector would provide of outlining future technology trends, R&D directives, pointers for research, anticipated challenges and policy imperatives pertaining to each sector.
Space Vision India 2025
It consists of the following:
1) Satellite based communication and navigation systems for rural connectivity, security needs and mobile services
2) Enhanced imaging capability for natural resource management, weather and climate change studies
3) Space science missions for better understanding of solar system and universe Planetary exploration
4) Development of Heavy lift launcher
5) Reusable Launch Vehicles – Technology demonstrator missions leading to Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO)
6) Human Space Flight.