Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has called upon scientific organisations and research institutions across the country to chalk out a roadmap for a nationwide public outreach campaign to create awareness in science, technology, innovation enabling provisions introduced by the Modi government for StartUps and potential entrepreneurs
The Union Minister said, after the Chandrayaan-3 landing on the Moon, there is a massive public interest generated in India’s Space exploration projects and the momentum needs to be sustained.
“This campaign will not only raise public awareness about our pioneering achievements by DST, CSIR, DBT, ISRO, DRDO & other scientific Departments during the more than nine years of the Government led by PM Modi, but also inspire and motivate the youth to contribute and be a part of this exciting journey,” he said.
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, was chairing a meeting of all Science Secretaries in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India, Professor Ajay Kumar Sood; Secretary, DST, Prof. Abhay Karandikar; Secretary, CSIR, Dr (Mrs) N. Kalaiselvi; Secretary, DBT, Dr Rajesh S. Gokhale; Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO, Shri. S. Somanath; Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Dr Ajit Kumar Mohanty, besides senior officers.
Lauding the ‘One Week One Lab’ student connect programme of CSIR-NIScPR conducted between Jan.1, 2023- Sep 24, 2023 by 37 CSIR Laboratories/Institutions during which their doors were thrown open to the students and public, Dr. Jitendra Singh called for grooming innovation aptitude in school children.
“Innovative learning will contribute to make India a $5 trillion economy goal and fulfil the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” he said.
The S&T Minister said the INSPIRE scheme is helping create a scientific temper as every year there is an increasing number of aspiring students competing for the awards. The first-ever Mentorship Programme for Young Innovators was launched in November 2021 to mark the 75th Year of India’s Independence, he said.
The INSPIRE Awards – MANAK is a flagship programme of the Government of India and is jointly implemented by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India. INSPIRE Scheme caters to students in the age group 10-32 years with several components. So far, more than 1.3 lakh Higher secondary students have been offered INSPIRE scholarships to pursue a career in Natural and Basic Sciences.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the DST supports a variety of infrastructure related schemes like FIST, PURSE, SAIF, etc. towards augmenting/ facilitating the R&D equipment for research activities at various Universities/ Institutes and other Academic organizations as well as promote industry-academia linkages.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that PM Modi’s vision is to step up the efforts in various fields to make the country ‘the most advanced laboratory for modern science’ in the ‘Amrit Kaal’-the next 25 years leading to a Viksit Bharat.
Working towards this vision, the Government has committed to invest heavily on building research infrastructure in the country. Under FIST Program, DST has supported 3,074 Departments and PG Colleges at a total budget of about Rs. 3,131 crores for Scientific Infrastructure Building in various STEM Departments.
Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that flexible infrastructure grants are being provided to universities nationwide to keep up the vigour of conducting highly challenging R&D activities with an investment of Rs 950 Crores till date.
The Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE) with a nationwide reach supports the universities’ research ecosystem by making high-end research equipment available to our academicians/scientists, enabling our universities to compete with global standards. A new scheme, SUPREME, has also been launched to provide financial support for repair/ upgradation/ maintenance/ retrofitting or acquiring additional attachments to increase functional capabilities of existing Analytical Instrumentation Facilities (AIFs).
Dr Jitendra Singh said that under PM Modi, the Government is taking a number of steps to promote scientific temper among the masses, particularly youngsters, by strengthening scientific research and innovation efforts in the country. He said, this is a pan-India Scheme that envisages Star College in every district of the country supported by the Department of Biotechnology.
A total of 278 undergraduate colleges across the country comprising more than 1.5 lakh students are supported under the DBT Star College Scheme. This includes 55 colleges from rural areas and 15 colleges in Aspirational districts.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, India is now steering the world in innovative technologies. We are on course to our target of reducing Greenhouse gases emission, and achieve Net Zero by 2070.
India is today one of the leading users of non-conventional energy including electric automobiles, wind & solar energy and the world’s first Hydrogen powered bus has been made in India, said the Minister. “The world is looking up to us for leads,” he said.
Sharing some of the key achievements of India in S & T like India’s massive jump in its ranking of Global Innovation Index (GII) from 81st in the year 2015 to 40th in 2022 among 132 economies of the world, 3rd rank in terms of number of StartUps, Unicorns, scientific publications and PhDs awarded, the Minister said that India has in recent years made some unprecedented progress in S & T.
“During the Covid pandemic, India not only saved its own population but also helped the world by providing vaccines and we also delivered the world’s first DNA vaccine,” he said.
The Minister mentioned that in the recent past, the Government of India has launched several flagship initiatives such as the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems (ICPS); Quantum Computing and Communication; National Mission on Supercomputing, Electric Mobility, Green Hydrogen etc.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, our Chandrayaan Mission was the first to discover evidence of water on the Moon and the Aditya-L1 solar mission is led by a woman Director. PM Modi has provided an enabling milieu to India’s endeavours in Space research, and S&T. PM Modi has emerged the tallest leader in the world after the G20 Summit.
“Today the world is ready to be led by India. The declaration of International Yoga Day and International Year of Millets by the UN is proof of our rising stature. Now is the time for all of us Indians to rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity,” he said.
Referring to PM Modi’s monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’, in May 2022, Dr Jitendra Singh said India’s Startup ecosystem is not limited to just big cities, but about 50% of Startups hail from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.
“Today there are over 3,000 Agritech Startups and are very successful in areas like Aroma Mission and Lavender cultivation, quite a few of them do not have high qualifications, but are very innovative. In 2014, there were just 4 Startups in the Space sector, now there are over 150 Space StartUps, some of the pioneering ones now worth hundreds of crore rupees,” he said.
A lot of this has been possible because of groundbreaking reforms brought by Prime Minister Modi, including StartUp policy, National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Space sector and Drone deregulations, new geospatial policy, National Research Foundation etc, he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, PM Modi also brought in the new National Education Policy (NEP-2020) which supplements Start-Up ecosystem with the promise to open new career and entrepreneurship opportunities for students and youth in India.
Referring to the last more than 9 years of Government led by PM Modi, Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that apart from formal jobs, lakhs of opportunities and avenues were created outside the government sector for the youth of the country, be it Start-ups, Mudra Scheme, PM SVANidhi.
During the meeting, the Union Minister reviewed preparations for the 9th India International Science Festival (IISF) – 2024 to be held at the NCR Biotech Science Cluster, Faridabad from January 17-20, 2024.