The Government is pursuing indigenous research projects rather than to execute projects for foreign multinational companies in science and technology.Government has been providing enhanced levels of Extra-Mural Research (EMR) funding in the consecutive Five Year Plans and several steps have been taken in the 11th Five Year Plan to rejuvenate indigenous research in the country. On an average about 3600 indigenous research projects were sanctioned per year during the first 3 years by all the funding mechanisms of the Government. Apart from its on-going programmes, the Ministry of Science and Technology has mounted several proactive land mark initiatives emphasizing the promotional and developmental roles while creating new structures for continued support to Research and Development (R&D) in the Eleventh Five Year Plan period. The Eleventh plan programmes of the Ministry, particularly, the Department of Science and Technology has 3 fundamental strategies that would focus on balance between (i) funding, developmental and promotional roles, (ii) proactive and reactive functions, and (iii) connecting discovery science to solutions of socially relevant problems. The Government has recently established a Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) in the country as an autonomous body through an Act of Parliament. The creation of SERB would significantly enhance the level of basic research funding in the coming plans and also impart the necessary autonomy, flexibility and speed in shaping the research programmes and delivery of funds to researchers. The launch of new initiatives like Nano Mission, Mega Facilities, Open Source Drug Discovery, Translational research, Network Projects, National Biotechnology Development Strategy, etc. in the XI Plan period demonstrates the commitment of the Government to encourage, promote and develop and innovative ecosystem for indigenous research in the country.
Government has put several enabling mechanisms especially in the socio-economic development sector in the XI Plan period. Knowledge extensions to society and stake holders were refocused for their objectives and methods. The Ministry has taken steps to build synergy with socio-economic Ministries in Science and Technology. Two new programmes for Technological Intervention for Addressing Societal Needs (TIASN) and Technological Intervention for Elderly (TIE) have been initiated by the Ministry recently with the objective of developing technologies for societal benefit. Other ongoing programmes are aimed at providing technology to the weaker sections of the society so that they derive benefit in terms of enhanced income, reduced drudgery and in general an improved quality of life. The programmes worked out for the XI Plan period include waste management for value addition and income generation to rural people; water technology initiative; solar energy research initiative; setting up Rural/ Women Technology Parks etc. The Government has also initiated promotion of R&D in emerging areas of Geo Information Science and Technology to develop methods and techniques for operationalising the concept of local level planning relating to the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences Shri Ashwani Kumar in a written reply to a question by Shri Dr. T. Subbarami Reddy in Rajya Sabha today.