Minister of State for Planning, Science &Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Ashwani Kumar stated in Lok Sabha today that the Government has taken a number of steps to increase the pace of progress in the field of scientific research and development in India.
The Minister further stated that these measures include successive increase in plan allocations for Scientific Departments, setting up of new institutions for science education and research, creation of centres of excellence and facilities in emerging and frontline areas in academic and national institutes, induction of new and attractive fellowships, strengthening infrastructure for Research and Development (R&D), encouraging public-private R&D partnerships etc. Launching of programmes like Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), Nano Mission, Mega Facilities, Open Source Drug Discovery, Network Projects, National Biotechnology Development Strategy etc. The Government has established a Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) in the country as an autonomous body through an Act of Parliament. The creation of SERB, apart from significantly enhancing the level of basic research funding, shall also impart the necessary autonomy, flexibility and speed in shaping the research programmes and delivery of funds to researchers. For experimenting and opening new areas of research and entering into novel territories, programmes such as Encouraging and Motivating Pursuit of World Class Exploratory Research (EMPOWER), Research Initiative to Scale New Knowledge (RISK) and CSIR.WWW have been launched. The outlay proposed for the XII Plan for S&T is Rs.1, 70,000 crores. Apart from expanding the scope of investigator centric Extra Mural Research support programmes in terms of quantity and quality, multifaceted programmes like Start-up Research grant for Indian Diaspora undertaking faculty assignments in Indian academia, Overseas Doctoral Scholarships and Post-doctoral Fellowships, Building Educators for Science Teaching, PAN India Mission, Public Private Partnerships for R&D, Disha Programme for Women in Science, Platforms for Technology Solution, Challenge Award for Global Positioning etc. are proposed for the XII Five Year Plan to take R&D to higher levels.