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Draft National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) has been uploaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on its website. DST has also invited suggestions, inputs and comments for making changes by 25th January.

Overall philosophy:

  • Unlike previous STI policies which were largely top-driven in formulation, the 5th national STI policy (STIP) follows core principles of being decentralised, evidence-informed, bottom-up, experts-driven, and inclusive.

Aim and Vision:

  • To achieve technological self-reliance and position India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come.
  • To attract, nurture, strengthen and retain critical human capital through a ‘people centric’ science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystem.
  • To double the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) researchers, Gross Dimestic Expenditture on R&D (GERD) and private sector contribution to the GERD every 5 years.
  • To build individual and institutional excellence in STI with the aspiration to achieve the highest level of global recognitions and awards in the coming decade.
  • To capture the aspirations of a new, future-ready India, by ensuring active participation, shared responsibility and equitable ownership of all stakeholders; transforming the national STI landscape maintaining the delicate balance between fortifying India’s indigenous capacity and nurturing meaningful global interconnectedness.

Need of it:

  • For India to march ahead on a sustainable development pathway to include economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability for achieving an Atmanirbhar Bharat”, a greater emphasis may be needed on promoting traditional knowledge systems, developing indigenous technologies and encouraging grassroots innovations.
  • The emergence of disruptive and impactful technologies poses new challenges and simultaneously greater opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a compelling opportunity for R&D institutions, academia and industry to work in unison for sharing of purpose, synergy, collaboration and cooperation.
  • The new Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy aims to bring about profound changes through short-term, medium-term, and long-term mission mode projects by building a nurtured ecosystem that promotes research and innovation on the part of both individuals and organizations

Summary of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP):

  • STIP will lead to the establishment of a National STI Observatory that will act as a central repository for all kinds of data related to and generated from the STI ecosystem.
  • It will encompass an open centralised database platform for all financial schemes, programmes, grants and incentives existing in the ecosystem
  • A future-looking, all-encompassing Open Science Framework will be built to provide access to scientific data, information, knowledge, and resources to everyone in the country and all who are engaging with the Indian STI ecosystem on an equal partnership basis. All data used in and generated from publicly-funded research will be available to everyone.
  • Strategies to improve STI education making it inclusive at all levels and more connected with the economy and society will be developed through processes of skill building, training and infrastructure development.
  • Engaged Universities will be created to promote interdisciplinary research to address community needs.
  • With an aim to expand the financial landscape of the STI ecosystem, each department/ ministry in the central, the state and the local governments, public sector enterprises, private sector companies and startups will set up an STI unit with a minimum earmarked budget to pursue STI activities. Extramural funding will be diversified and enhanced to double the share of extramural R&D support of the Central government agencies in the Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) in the next five years.
  • The policy aims to create a fit for purpose, accountable research ecosystem promoting translational as well as foundational research in India in alignment with global standards.
  • The policy envisions strengthening of the overall innovative ecosystem, fostering Science & Technology (S&T)- enabled entrepreneurship, and improving participation of the grassroots levels in the research and innovation ecosystem.
  • An institutional architecture to integrate Traditional Knowledge Systems (TKS) and grassroots innovation into the overall education, research and innovation system will be established.
  • Collaborations between grassroots innovators and scientists will be facilitated through joint research projects, fellowships and scholarships.
  • The policy will promote technology self-reliance and indigenization to achieve the larger goal of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
  • A two-way approach of indigenous development of technology as well as technology indigenization will be adopted and focused upon in alignment with national priorities, like sustainability and social benefit, and resources.
  • A Strategic Technology Development Fund (STDF) will be created to incentivize the private sector and HEIs.
  • The policy provides renewed impetus to the mainstreaming of equity and inclusion within the STI ecosystem.
  • An India-centric Equity & Inclusion (E&I) charter will be developed for tackling all forms of discrimination, exclusions and inequalities in STI leading to the development of an institutional mechanism.
  • An inclusive culture will be facilitated through equal opportunity for women along with candidates from ruralremote areas, marginalised communities, differently-abled individuals including Divyangjans, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds, proportionate representation of women in selection/ evaluation committees, addressing of ageism related issues and consideration of experienced women scientists for leadership roles and regular gender and social audits in academic and professional organizations. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) community will be included in gender equity conversations with special provisions to safeguard their rights and promote their representation and retention in STI.
  • The policy will work towards mainstreaming science communication and public engagement through the development of capacity building avenues through creative and cross-disciplinary platforms, research initiatives, and outreach platforms.
  • A decentralized institutional mechanism balancing top-down and bottom-up approaches, focussing on administrative and financial management, research governance, data and regulatory frameworks and system interconnectedness, will be formulated for a robust STI Governance.
  • The policy outlines the institutional mechanism for STI policy governance along with the implementation strategy and roadmap and monitoring and evaluation framework for the policy and programs and their interlinkages.