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Synopsis: India could use its education policy to improve the research and innovation ecosystem in the country.
The Government of India celebrates National Vaccination Day every year on March 16 to communicate the importance of vaccination to the people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of this day becomes even more important.
- India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine will help India in emerging as a global leader in the post-COVID-19 era.
What steps were taken during the pandemic?
- Most developed nations ramped up their efforts to vaccinate their respective population. However, the developing countries were far behind. It could have resulted in another year of humanitarian and economic crisis for them.
- Developed countries engaged in vaccine nationalism during this time. However, India made vaccines widely available for other developing countries. India guaranteed a universal, unbiased, and affordable supply of vaccines for developing countries.
- This firmly established India as the pharmacy of the world and sent out the message that medical products must be dealt with as global public goods.
- The country has supplied vaccines to over 70 countries while ensuring that its domestic demand is met.
Why India should invest more in Research and Innovation?
The IITs came up with significant innovations like low-cost portable ventilators, affordable AI-powered COVID-19 test kits, drones for sanitization, and cheap and effective PPE kits and masks.
These innovations helped in providing healthcare facilities to Indian citizens. Moreover, the products were exported to different countries.
Thus, India should invest more money and energy in research and innovation to make India a long-term global leader.
Steps taken to strengthen research and Innovation
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a step forward in this direction.
- Firstly, the NEP aims to improve the research and innovation landscape in India. It proposes that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should focus on research and innovation. This will be done by establishing start-up incubation centres, technology development centres, and interdisciplinary research.
- Secondly, the NEP also recommends setting up Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities, which will be on the level of IITs and IIMs to achieve the highest global standards in education.
- Thirdly, the National Research Foundation (NRF) will be established under the Principal Scientific Adviser. Its aim is to transform India’s research culture. An outlay of ₹50,000 crore for the next five years has been allocated for NRF in the Budget.
The world will remember India for initiating the largest education reforms and emerging from the pandemic as a global leader. The Prime Minister has given a solid boost to the vaccination drive and instilled confidence in the nation after taking the vaccine himself.
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