The Government of India, through the Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, over the last four years, has been in the process of creating
an all-inclusive science-driven environment. According to an official
press release published on 7 June, the ministry
has increased both the quality and quantity of basic research, translation
research, technology development, technology transfer, innovation and startups,
and has been able to commercialise indigenous technology.
In New Delhi on the 7 June, the Minister of Science
& Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan briefed the media about the Ministry’s
accomplishments over the last four years. Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the
Ministry is taking steps to solve problems in the areas of water, energy,
health, environment, climate, agriculture and food. Furthermore, the country is
preparing to launch several initiatives including cyber physical
system, projects involving AI (Artificial Intelligence), supercomputing, deep ocean
exploration, and biopharmaceuticals, among others. The aim is to ready India to
able to participate in the highly competitive global market.
According to the Minster, the Government has
also been able to integrate India’s scientific and national opportunities and
priorities through digital projects such as Make
in India, Start-up India, Digital
India, the Clean
India Mission (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) and the Healthy
India initiative (Swasth Bharat). The Minister said the Government has highlighted
the need to make more connections and stronger ties with industry, education, and
line ministries and with other countries.
The press release
mentioned that over the last four years, the Ministry has participated in a
number of international projects, including its collaboration in the LIGO project for gravitational wave
detection, becoming an Associate
Member State of CERN, and establishing of
India-Israel Industrial Research and Development and Technological Innovation
The investments for science, technology
and associated areas have gone up during the last four years (2014-2015 to
2018-2019) as compared to five years earlier (2009-2010 to 2013-2014). The
press release noted that the budget
allocation for the Department of Science & Technology is IN ₹19,764 crore (around US $2.9 billion)
which is a 90% increase. Similarly, there was a 65% increase in funding for the
Department of Biotechnology; almost a 43% increase for the Council
of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and a 26% increase for
Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Among the list of the Ministry’s
achievements, one of the most important accomplishments has been the advancement
and transfer of over 800 technologies to the industry. The Ministry has been
able to create stronger ties and establish better cooperation between intra-ministry
laboratories and inter-ministry institutions. For departments like Defence, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Power
and Renewable Energy, etc., scientific laboratories have become important hubs for
In the Agricultural
sector, the use of science and technology to yield higher crop productivity has
made a big impact on the rural economy. The release stated that at present,
under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, 24 million farmers are being provided
with agro-meteorological advisories, and by July 2018, another 16 million
farmers are expected to receive the aid. The prompt weather data and
meteorological information has made farming activities more efficient and has
led to a positive economic impact of about IN ₹50,000 crores (around US $7.42 billion)
in national GDP.
On 1 June 2018, the Ministry of
Earth Sciences commissioned the Ensemble Weather Prediction system to generate block level
weather forecasts, the technology was implemented with the help of the new super
computers, Pratyush and Mihir.
Similarly, fishermen in
rural India are given information
on potential fishing zones, on fish availability to increase productivity. These advisories
reach more than 400,000 users every day.
The CSIR has launched a
project for the development of Chemical
Intermediaries and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API), the aim
is to lower India’s dependence on imports, particularly from China.
The Government, under the Ministry of
Drinking Water and Sanitation has also launched a number of schemes to deal with water shortage and to
improve the quality of water supply in several parts of the country.
Over the four years,
the Ministry of Science and Technology has been able to increase its manpower
strength which the it regards as the foundation of research and development.
The released stated that the Ministry has supported
around 1.1 million students, teachers and researchers. It has also launched various
programs for young scientists, and has successfully attracted more than 600 experts
of Indian origin from overseas to return to the country.