The Ministry of Science and Technology is set to come out with the first draft of India’s fifth Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) this month. The policy, in which the government for the first time has decided to take a “bottom-up” approach in order to address the everyday concerns of Indians, comes after the ministry has undertaken one of its biggest ever exercises, in consultation with scientific agencies, institutes, civil society organisations, industry, students and teachers, and involving as many as 15,000 stakeholders.
- The STIP will also be one of the fastest to be both formulated as well as implemented, with the process to develop it beginning earlier this year, and the policy set to be tabled by October.
- With the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the urgency for a push toward scientific solutions of crises, the government is keen to begin the implementation of the new policy by next year.
- To this end, the ministry has set up a secretariat with in-house experts under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in order to reach this target.
- The STIP itself should be dynamic and therefore reviewed every year to keep pace with the changes in technology, since technology itself is developing so rapidly.
- It should not be static, like it has been so far, where the policy is visited once every decade. Our thrust areas are how to achieve sustainable development, intelligent machines and AI, to be future ready with areas like quantum technology and to have focused streams of national priorities and societal needs like health, water, energy etc, DST Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma said.
- Problem-solving is usually multi-dimensional and inter-institutional — no one scientist can solve a single problem, which has many dimensions to it.
- That is why our focus is to make the policy more inclusive. For instance, receiving inputs from farmers, who will have specific problems, and maybe even solutions to those problems.
- As per the Global Competitive Index, India was ranked 56th in 2003 against China at 44. However, India ranked 58th in the annual Global Competitiveness Index 2019.
- India’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index is 52 in 2019 which shows an improvement of 5 points from last year's ranking (57).
- This gap that the new STIP is trying to close, while being able to meet the need of scientific solutions for national problems and crises.
- The Science Policy Resolution 1958 which aimed to “foster, promote and sustain” the “cultivation of science and scientific research in all its aspects”.
- The Technology Policy Statement 1983 which emphasized the need to attain technological competence and self reliance, with the objective to “integrate programmes of socio-economic sectors with the national R&D system and the creation of a national innovation system”
- The Science and Technology Policy 2003 which brought the benefits of Science and Technology to the forefront and also focused on the investment required for research and development along with the national innovation system.
- The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013 which focussed on the large demographic dividend and set the paradigm “Science technology and innovation for the people.”
- The new policy STIP 2020 revolves around the core principles of being decentralized, evidence-informed, bottom-up, experts-driven and inclusive.