CSIR Society

2.1 CSIR SOCIETY

The meeting of the CSIR Society was held on 10th April 2003 at 7, Race Course, New Delhi. The following items were adopted by the society

  • Confirmation of the Proceedings of the Meeting of CSIR Society held on 27.03.2002,
  • Consideration and Adoption of the Annual Accounts of CSIR for the year 2001-2002, the Audit report and CSIR’s comments thereon, and
  • Adoption of CSIR Annual Report 2001-2002.

The proceedings of the meeting are as under:

At the outset Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Vice President, CSIR and Hon'ble Minister of Science & Technology, Human Resource Development and Ocean Development welcomed the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and members of the CSIR Society to the AGM. He thanked the Prime Minister for his sustained support to the cause of science and his generous gesture of announcing the "Indian Science Award" carrying a cash prize of Rs.25 lakh at the Indian Science Congress. Prof. Joshi pointed out that for several years till 1998 the Government investments and allocation for S&T were stagnant, but since then, the allocations had increased significantly. The Government was committed to ensure that the National expenditure on R&D increased to 2% of GDP within the next five years. Another significant initiative taken by the Government, Prof. Joshi said, was the enunciation of an integrated Science and Technology Policy, which hitherto were separate policies. He then dilated some of the more significant aspects of the new Policy. Prof. Joshi then turned to the need to incorporate modern science in validating and enhancing the value of India's rich traditional knowledge. A Traditional Knowledge Digital Library had been established for the purpose, he explained. Indian tradition was to freely share the knowledge with all and therefore, whenever, new knowledge was developed, it was dispersed to all. But, preaching to Scientists now was to seek monopoly patents for the new knowledge developed by them. However, an Inter-Ministerial Group had been set up to consider the diverse issues involved in introducing a strong intellectual property rights regime in the country, he said.

Prof. Joshi mentioned that hitherto the Scientists were accustomed to working individually but now team work and networking were being encouraged as demonstrated by the mounting of 21 Jai Vigyan Missions nationally and the 55 Networked Programmes taken up by CSIR in the Tenth Five Year Plan. Prof. Joshi pointed out that hitherto the tendency was to follow the west in technology development and whatever technologies were developed there, were adopted in India by incorporating some minor modifications only. The relevance and rationale was not questioned. But in the last five years, he said Indian S& T had established a distinct identity where Indian relevance was being kept in view. To support this statement, he cited the case of development of a 'Simputer' a simple personal computer which was relevant for the rural population and cost effective at the same time.

In regard to Human Resource Development, Prof. Joshi mentioned the schemes initiated to attract young talent to science. He informed the Hon'ble Prime Minister that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowship had been initiated by CSIR for recognizing the creative talent of young science scholar. Another initiative, the invention awards scheme for school children had also been recently taken up. He went on to explain that even women were being encouraged to pursue research as a career by providing them flexibility in their conditions of service. The Government, he said, had also set up a National Innovation Foundation (NIF) to promote grass root innovation in the informal sector. He then gave examples of inventions supported by NIF that had been licensed to an American company and exported to South Africa. Prof. Joshi then invited Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR to present the achievements of CSIR in the last one year to the Hon'ble Prime Minister and the Members of the CSIR Society.

Dr. Mashelkar welcomed the Hon'ble Prime Minister to the meeting of the Society and thanked him for sparing time to preside over the meeting. He mentioned that during the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations CSIR had come up with a new mantra "India matters to CSIR, CSIR matters to India". Dr. Mashelkar then dwelt on the contributions of CSIR for economic growth, human welfare, strategic needs and advancement of technology. In the sphere of economic development he cited the innovative NTGG process developed by CSIR and patented in USA, used by GAIL to put up a pilot plant at Vaghodia, Gujarat. NALCO, another PSU, had put up one of the largest plants in the world to manufacture eco-friendly detergent grade zeolite based on CSMCRI technology. At the other end of the spectrum were the small capacity palm oil processing mills established in Goa, Gujrat, Orissa and Tamilnadu, based on technology from RRL, Trivandrum. On the agro side he highlighted the continuous advancement in mechanization commencing from Swaraj tractors in the seventies to the Sonalika tractor in the new Millennium.

Talking of the constant endeavour of 'Team CSIR' to pioneer new opportunity areas for Indian industry, he proudly presented the progress on development of SARAS aircraft. He said, starting a decade ago with HANSA - a two seater aircraft, today the country had the privilege of having its own state-of-art multipurpose, short haul 14 seater aircraft to cater to the varied domestic needs. He said it was a proud day for CSIR when HANSA was showcased in the Republic Day parade this year followed thereafter, in early February, by the Rollout of the fully equipped SARAS. Dr. Mashelkar said that CSIR's imprint on the aerospace sector was wide and deep ranging from HUD, landing gear, carbon fibre wings, composite fin and rudder for the LCA.

Dr. Mashelkar then dilated on the diverse initiatives taken for societal welfare. He said the 'value creation' programmes of CSIR for rural areas, especially for the herbal products were already yielding results. Dr. Mashelkar then referred to the several therapeutics developed within the country based on CSIR inputs. These had worldwide impact through the lowering of the prices and wider availability. He referred to the 'STPase', the indigenous streptokinese clot buster (licensed to Cadila) and the leads obtained on antifilarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiarthritic, antiulcer, anticancer, and immuno modulators/memory enhancers.

In regard to advancement of knowledge, Dr. Mashelkar informed that CSIR was contributing about 15% of the total publications contributed in reputed scientific & technical journals. The quality of science in CSIR had improved considerably, as well as, the number of publications had gone up. The average Impact Factor of contributions from CSIR had jumped from 0.89 in 1995 to 1.67 in 2002; Whereas the comparable figures for even Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore were 1.83 and 2.19 respectively.

He once again stressed the need for aggressively protecting Indian inventions & discoveries through a strong IPR protection regime. He pointed out that during the last Society meeting, the Hon'ble Prime Minister had exhorted CSIR to lead and occupy the No 1 position for PCT patent filing among all developed countries and CSIR had taken the motivation and challenge in earnest. The year 2002, he said, saw CSIR being declared as No.1 in PCT applications from all developing countries, besides CSIR's share was nearly 40% of all US patents granted to Indians in 2002, a no mean achievement.

Thereafter, Dr. Mashelkar dwelt on initiatives taken by CSIR to promote awareness and popularize science among young students. He specifically talked about the efforts of Master Madhav, a class X student of Jabalpur who had been awarded the first prize in the competition for inventions of school children inventing a new font for Braille system for the visually handicapped. CSIR had filed a patent on the young boy's behalf and CSIO was now designing & fabricating this new generation Braille device. He said the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) of putting together the consortia of the 'best' Indian academic / R&D and industrial partners, was yielding promising outcome. He gave a glimpse of progress made in some of the NMITLI programmes -especially in the development of Biosuite a software for Bio-Informatics and the discovery of a new anti-TB molecule.

He elaborated on the achievements of the 'Bioactive Network Programme' – an initiative launched by CSIR only five years ago, to synergise contemporary Science & Technology with the rich heritage of Indian medical remedies. This he said was an area of opportunity for India and CSIR had taken the lead in this endeavour. The programme had, already lead to the design of a new anti-ulcer formulation, chromatographic imaging methodology for herbal drug finger printing as well as newer animal substitute models for screening of cancer drugs.

He also referred to the Indian initiative in February 2001, through the CSIR at international fora for inclusion of traditional knowledge under International Patent Classifications System. It was to India's credit, that in less then two years time, traditional knowledge was being recognized as a distinct discipline in patent search. He then concluded by giving a brief insight of CSIR's forays into futuristic Technologies like fuel cells for rural electrification, hydrogen from Biomass/LPG etc.

The members appreciated the success of CSIR in increasing its filing of foreign patents. In the ensuing of discussions valuable suggestions were made as follows' (i) modernizing of the 'patent office' and its manning by Scientists/ Technologists, (ii) the need for Scientists to prioritize on filing patents instead of publishing papers,' (iii) seeking a leadership position in technology for titanium, (iv) taking up a programme on development of nano-technology, (v) creating facilities for indigenous certification of plant materials, (vi) development of auto-fuels and (vii) tools and machinery for a modern 'bamboo' industry to create employment.

Prof. Joshi informed the members about the steps already initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology, DBT, CSIR and others in the Government on some of their’ suggestions. He assured the Members that their valuable suggestions would be careful1y considered.

The Hon’ble Minister (S&T) then requested the Hon’ble Prime Minister for his guidance and advice. .

The Hon'ble Prime Minister expressed his happiness to participate in the meeting of the Society of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. He said:

"I would like to begin by congratulating CSIR for the excellent progress it has made during its diamond jubilee year. I recall that during last year's Society meeting, I had said that I would like to see CSIR become a real technology powerhouse. It should make a greater contribution to nation building. It should earn a higher reputation globally. I am happy to see that CSIR is moving in the right direction to make that happen.

One sign of the global recognition is that advanced countries recognize the novelty of Indian innovations by granting it patent rights in their own country. CSIR today is getting that global recognition due to its aggressive intellectual property policy. At the last meeting of the Society, I had congratulated CSIR on its securing the second ranking as per the Patent Cooperation Treaty but had exhorted it to strive to achieve the number one position soon. I am happy to note that CSIR has done India proud by attaining the number one position in 2002. I am also happy to note that CSIR has been granted 145 US patents, almost 40% of the total patents granted to India. My congratulations! .

I have two points to make. Firstly, I note that CSIR shares the number one pedestal with a Korean firm -next year, I want CSIR to be the undisputed first ranker -head & shoulders above the number two. Secondly, I am rather disappointed to see very few of the Indian firms filing patents. The Indian industry needs to realise that to win the wars in the emerging knowledge based economy, they need to be strong in patenting. I hope the Indian industry and also the Indian institutions will emulate CSIR. It is only by fostering a strong public-private partnership that India can achieve a leadership position in technology. New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Programme (NMITLI) that we launched in the year 2000 was a step in that direction. I am happy to hear that more than 50 private sector companies and 120 public institutions have been networked together in a 'Team India' fashion to create India's largest knowledge network. Last month, the Cabinet has formally approved the NMITLI programme for the 10th Plan with an investment from the Government of Rs. 205 Crores. We have offered very soft loan conditions to the private sector. I hope our industry will take full advantage of this initiative by the Government.

We have also gone ahead in other specific areas, where public-private partnership can make a difference. My friends in the pharma industry had been a little impatient with the government for a delay in implementing the Mashelkar Committee recommendations on R&D in the pharma sector. I am happy to say today that we have included in this year's budget an allocation of RS.150 crore for Department of Science and Technology to mount this programme. I hope this will help our pharma industry in sustaining the competitive advantage. We are going beyond merely providing funding. The pharma industry has been accorded the same benefits and facilities as afforded to the IT industry. CSIR, DBT and DST have also dovetailed their schemes and competencies to give a technological edge to our pharma industry. We are thus going all out to promote and support the pharma industry to emerge as a global player.

The Finance Minister this year has assigned to the CSIR the task of developing such networking in another area of concern to us, namely energy - especially solar, wind and hydrogen based by making a special allocation of Rs. 20 crores. India's energy security will crucially depend upon such initiatives. I would like to see the CSIR leverage its seed allocation of Rs. 20 crore with other to take up daring technological innovations. I have been voicing my concern on the declining interest in science as a career amongst our youth. I have been urging that some schemes be drawn to nurture young persons to take up R&D as a career. I must thank Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi for directing CSIR to evolve and mount a path setting Diamond Jubilee Research Interns Awards Scheme that seeks to tap and develop local scientific talent for R&D. We must continue to take more such initiatives.

CSIR must reach out to the young. I understand that each CSIR laboratory is seeking to 'adopt' a school and a college in its catchment area to bring in the much needed 'excellence and excitement' in science. I would strongly urge CSIR to take advantage of its nationwide presence from Kashmir to Kanyakumari to fire the imagination of the young.

I have noted with appreciation CSIR's initiatives to kindle the spirit of inventiveness amongst our school children through the 'Young Innovators Awards'. With changing demography in the world, India has a unique advantage of being a relatively young and large nation. If the spirit of innovation is stirred among the youth, then this Indian Yuvashakti will create a great nation.

Finally, I want to express my happiness that after a gap of 20 years, we have launched the Science and Technology Policy - 2003 at the Indian Science Congress in Bangalore. As we will remember so far, the Scientific Policy Resolution of 1958 and the Technology Policy Statement of 1983 were the two policy pronouncements that inspired and guided the nation's programmes and initiatives in S & T. The new policy integrates both Science and Technology in a symbiotic and holistic manner. This policy heralds us in the future realm of science and technology with our feet firmly rooted in our rich culture and heritage. A mere policy is not enough -it needs to be quickly and carefully implemented. We must expeditiously move forward to put together the instruments and mechanisms for its implementation. Concluding, my congratulations to CSIR for an eventful and purposeful year and we look forward to CSIR scaling still greater heights".

Prof. Joshi assured Hon'ble Prime Minister that CSIR would continue to strive for scaling still greater heights. The Annual Accounts and Audit Reports for the year 2001-2002 were also adopted.