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Draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020

Synopsis: The draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 202o has the potential to transform the science and research in India

Introduction:

The government introduced a draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 in January 2021. The draft policy aimed to address the issues in the past four science and technology policies.

Evolution of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies in India:

Right after independence, India realised the value of science in promoting the welfare of people. So far, India has released four policies in Science. The important

  1. The Scientific Policy Resolution, 1958
    • The policy aimed to lay the foundation of scientific temper and develop scientific enterprises around India.
    • The policy led to the establishment of many research institutes and national laboratories across India.
    • Achievement of the policy: By the end of 1980, India developed advanced scientific infrastructure along with sufficient scientific personnel
  2. The Science and Technology Policy Statement, 1983
    • This policy aimed to achieve technological self-reliance. The policy also aims to use technology to benefit all sections of society.
    • The policy aimed to strengthen the research in fields such as biotechnology and electronics.
  3. The Science and Technology Policy, 2003
    • This is the first Science Policy in India after the economic reforms in 1991.
    • This policy aimed to increase investment in research and development. The policy brought India’s investment in research to 0.7% of GDP.
    • During this policy only, the Scientific and Engineering Research Board (SERB) was established in India to promote research.
  4. The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013
    • This policy brought innovation into the science and technology policy.
    • The policy aimed to become one of the top five global scientific leaders in the world.
    • India achieved this by the following steps
      • The Centre built partnerships with State governments,
      • The government established more research and development centres throughout India
      • India collaborated in international research projects such as the Neutrino research, Large Hadron Collider, etc.

What are the outcomes of these Four scientific policies?

The US-based National Science Foundation released a report. The report highlighted the outcomes of the policies. They are

  1. Achievement of Policies:
    • India was the third-largest publisher of peer-reviewed science and engineering journal articles and conference papers
    • India achieved this milestone at the pace of a 10.73% annual growth rate from 2008. This is higher than the growth rate of China (7.81%)
  2. Where the policies lack?
    • India’s index score was very low in Highly Cited Articles of the world. India has a score of 0.7. This is lower than the US, China and the EU.
    • India’s Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) is only 0.6% of GDP. This is very low compare to the U.S. and China (Both their GERD is greater than 2%).
    • According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) report, India only filed 2053 patents in 2019. On the other hand, China filed 58,990 patents and the US filed 57,840 patents.

How India aimed to tackle the drawbacks?

The government aimed to tackle the drawbacks holistically by releasing a new science and technology policy. The government released the draft of the fifth Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 (STIP 2020) in January 2021  

Salient provisions of Draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020:

  1. The draft STIP aims to double the following things every 5 years.  
    1. Number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers
    2. Private sector contribution to the GERD
    3. Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD)
  2. Apart from that the draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy also aim to get India into the top three scientific superpowers of the world within a decade.
  3. The draft STIP 2020 also defined the Open Science Framework. The framework will provide pan India access to all scientific journals. This will be achieved by creating a “one nation, one subscription”. 
  4. The draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy will improve Private sector participation. This is achieved by a strategy.
    Under it, the State governments will fund the research. The Private will participate in it. The government will provide fiscal incentives. Further, the government also support innovation in the MSME sector.
  5. The other focus areas of the draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy are:
    • The provision for supporting indigenous knowledge systems in India
    • The draft STIP provide steps to improve artificial intelligence
    • The policy will encourage the participation of Indian scientific diaspora
    • The policy will set up a special fund for research known as the strategic technology development fund. 

Conclusion:

The draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy look good on paper and also has the potential to transform the entire science, technology and innovation in India. But the actual results will occur only if the government fulfil its role as the primary funder of research and encourage the private.

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