Union Minister Harsh Vardhan today said India is continuously improving its rank in the science sector and exuded confidence that one day it would lead all other countries.
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan today said India is continuously improving its rank in the science sector and exuded confidence that one day it would lead all other countries. About budgetary allocations to the science and technology ministry led by him, the minister hailed the “upward trend” in fund provisions to different departments under it. Speaking to reporters, he claimed the NDA government’s efforts have ensured that “brain drain” has started to convert into “brain gain” for the country as over 250 scientists have returned to India since the BJP-led alliance came to power and implemented schemes encouraging the change. Department of Science and Technology (DST) secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma, who accompanied Vardhan during the briefing, said the government has launched ‘Accelerate Vigyan’ scheme to train students and technicians in using machines in laboratories.
A web portal would also be made available to help people know the types of machines available in the laboratories in the country and how those can be booked, he said. “We have scaled up in rankings (through science institutes). It won’t happen sans any reason. We are no less than anyone… we are continuously improving and scaling up in ranks (in the field). “And one day we will be above all, don’t worry about it,” Vardhan said in reply to a question on a report suggesting that the USA and China are investing more on science than India. By scaling up in rankings, he was referring to the CSIR finding a place among 100 public institutes in the world in industry-relevant research. Vardhan pitched for optimal use of available resources to solve the big problems that India faces. He said budgetary allocation for science and technology is Rs 12,322.62 crore, while that for the earth science is around Rs 1,800 crore (total provision for the ministry of Rs 14,122.62 crore).
The allocation for research and development under the DST has gone up by 8 per cent (over revised estimate) compared to 2017-2018 fiscal, the minister said. Similarly, allocation for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), department of biotechnology (DBT) and ministry of earth sciences have gone up by 3.56 per cent, 6.7 per cent and 12.7 per cent respectively, he said. Vardhan claimed that budgetary allocations to the departments saw a “big jump” over the last five years compared to those made between 2009-10 and 2013-14. Sharma said the government’s investment on research and development (R&D) was 0.4 per cent to 0.5 per cent of the GDP and claimed that the investment would go up once the industries invest more in R&D.
The DST secretary said least 200 workshops and training camps would be held in the upcoming financial year onwards to train students and technicians on using machines in laboratories. Vardhan claimed that innovation and start-up activities have received big support during the NDA government’s reign and business incubation facilities have almost doubled. In 2018-19 alone, 15 new biotechnology incubators and 15 -20 new technology business incubators would be set up to incubate startups, he said. In the 2018-2019 financial year, the agrometeorologial advisories would reach 50 million farmers from the present 24 million, Vardhan said. “Biotech Kisan (farmer) is another such initiative which is assisting farmers in 15 agro-climatic zones. Similarly, thousands of farmers are getting benefitted under Aroma Mission for cultivation of aromatic plants,” he said.