Science and Technology Policy 2003

 

Contents

A - Preamble 

B - Policy Objectives

C - Strategy and Implementation Plan

  1. Science and Technology Governance and Investments

  2. Optimal Utilization of Existing Infrastructure and Competence

  3. Strengthening of the Infrastructure for Science and Technology in Academic Institutions

  4. New Funding Mechanisms for Basic Research

  5. Human Resource Development

  6. Technology Development, Transfer and Diffusion

  7. Promotion of Innovation

  8. Industry and Scientific R&D

  9. Indigenous Resources and Traditional Knowledge

  10. Technologies for Mitigation and Management of Natural Hazards

  11. Generation and Management of Intellectual Property

  12. Public Awareness of Science and Technology

  13. International Science and Technology Cooperation

  14. Fiscal Measures

  15. Monitoring

  16.  The New Vision

A - Preamble

 Science and technology have profoundly influenced the course of human civilization. Science has provided us remarkable insights into the world we live in. The scientific revolutions of the 20th century have led to many technologies, which promise to herald wholly new eras in many fields. As we stand today at the beginning of a new century, we have to ensure fullest use of these developments for the well being of our people.

Science and technology have been an integral part of Indian civilization and culture over the past several millennia. Few are aware that India was the fountainhead of important foundational scientific developments and approaches. These cover many great scientific discoveries and technological achievements in mathematics, astronomy, architecture, chemistry, metallurgy, medicine, natural philosophy and other areas. A great deal of this traveled outwards from India. Equally, India also assimilated scientific ideas and techniques from elsewhere, with open-mindedness and a rational attitude characteristic of a scientific ethos. India’s traditions have been founded on the principles of universal harmony, respect for all creation and an integrated holistic approach. This background is likely to provide valuable insights for future scientific advances. During the century prior to Independence, there was an awakening of modern science in India through the efforts of a number of outstanding scientists. They were responsible for great scientific advances of the highest international caliber.

In the half century since Independence, India has been committed to the task of promoting the spread of science. The key role of technology as an important element of national development is also well recognised. The Scientific Policy Resolution of 1958 and the Technology Policy Statement of 1983 enunciated the principles on which the growth of science and technology in India has been based over the past several decades. These policies have emphasized self-reliance, as also sustainable and equitable development. They embody a vision and strategy that are applicable today, and would continue to inspire us in our endeavors.

With the encouragement and support that has been provided, there is today a sound infrastructural base for science and technology. These include research laboratories, higher educational institutions and highly skilled human resource. Indian capabilities in science and technology cover an impressive range of diverse disciplines, areas of competence and of applications. India’s strength in basic research is recognized internationally. Successes in agriculture, health care, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, nuclear energy, astronomy and astrophysics, space technology and applications, defense research, biotechnology, electronics, information technology and oceanography are widely acknowledged. Major national achievements include very significant increase in food production, eradication or control of several diseases and increased life expectancy of our citizens.

While these developments have been highly satisfying, one is also aware of the dramatic changes that have taken place, and continue to do so, in the practice of science, in technology development, and their relationships with, and impact on, society. 

Particularly striking is the rapidity with which science and technology is moving ahead. Science is becoming increasingly inter- and multi-disciplinary, and calls for multi-institutional and, in several cases, multi-country participation. Major experimental facilities, even in several areas of basic research, require very large material, human and intellectual resources. Science and technology have become so closely intertwined, and so reinforce each other that, to be effective, any policy needs to view them together. The continuing revolutions in the field of information and communication technology have had profound impact on the manner and speed with which scientific information becomes available, and scientific interactions take place.

Science and technology have had unprecedented impact on economic growth and social development. Knowledge has become a source of economic might and power. This has led to increased restrictions on sharing of knowledge, to new norms of intellectual property rights, and to global trade and technology control regimes. Scientific and technological developments today also have deep ethical, legal and social implications. There are deep concerns in society about these. The ongoing globalisation and the intensely competitive environment have a significant impact on the production and services sectors. 

Because of all this, our science and technology system has to be infused with new vitality if it is to play a decisive and beneficial role in advancing the well being of all sections of our society. The nation continues to be firm in its resolve to support science and technology in all its facets. It recognizes its central role in raising the quality of life of the people of the country, particularly of the disadvantaged sections of society, in creating wealth for all, in making India globally competitive, in utilizing natural resources in a sustainable manner, in protecting the environment and ensuring national security.

B - Policy Objectives

Recognizing the changing context of the scientific enterprise, and to meet present national needs in the new era of globalisation, Government enunciates the following objectives of its Science and Technology Policy:

It is recognized that these objectives will be best realized by a dynamic and flexible Science and Technology Policy, which can readily adapt to the rapidly changing world order. This Policy, reiterates India’s commitment to participate as an equal and vigorous global player in generating and harnessing advances in science and technology for the benefit of all humankind.


C - Strategy and Implementation Plan

Keeping in view these broad objectives, it is essential to spell out an implementation strategy that will enable identification of specific plans, programmes and projects, with clearly defined tasks, estimates of necessary resources, and time targets. Some of the key elements of the implementation strategy will be as follows: -

1. Science and Technology Governance and Investments

Suitable mechanism will be evolved by which independent inputs on science and technology policy and planning are obtained on a continuous basis from a wide cross section of scientists and technologists. It will utilize the academies and specialized professional bodies for this purpose. These inputs will form an integral part of the planning and implementation of all programmes relating to science and technology, as also in government decision making and formulation of policies in socio-economic sectors.

A greater integration of the programmes in socio-economic sectors with R&D activities will go a long way in ensuring a wider, more visible and tangible impact. This will call for a certain percentage of the overall allocation of each of the socio-economic ministries to be devoted for relevant programmes and activities in science and technology. The States will also be encouraged and assisted in the use of science and technology for developmental purposes through mechanisms set up for this, and in establishing linkages with national institutions for solving their regional and locale-specific problems.

A concerted strategy is necessary to infuse a new sense of dynamism in our science and technology institutions. The science departments, agencies and other academic institutions, including universities i.e. the science and technology system as a whole, would be substantially strengthened, given full autonomy and flexibility, and de-bureaucratized.

Mechanisms will be established to review on a continuous basis the academic and administrative structures and procedures in the science and technology system at all levels, so that reforms could be effected to meet the challenges of the changing needs.

It will be ensured that all highly science-based Ministries/Departments of Government are run by scientists and technologists. All the major socio-economic Ministries will have high-level scientific advisory mechanisms.

Government will ensure continued existence of an Apex S&T Advisory Body which will assist in formulating and implementing various programmes and policies. It will have appropriate representation of industry leaders, leading scientists and technologists and various scientific departments.

Government will make necessary budgetary commitments for higher education and science and technology. It will, through its own resources and also through contribution by industry, raise the level of investment to at least 2% of GDP on science and technology by the end of the Tenth Plan. For this, it is essential for industry to steeply increase its investments in R&D. This will enable it to be competitive, achieve greater self-reliance and self-confidence, and fulfill national goals.

2. Optimal Utilization of Existing Infrastructure and Competence

Science and technology is advancing at a very fast pace, and obsolescence of physical infrastructure, as also of skills and competence, take place rapidly. Steps will be taken to network the existing infrastructure, investments and intellectual strengths, wherever they exist, to achieve effective and optimal utilization, and constantly upgrade them to meet changing needs.

3. Strengthening of the Infrastructure for Science and Technology in Academic Institutions

A major initiative to modernize the infrastructure for science and engineering in academic institutions will be undertaken. It will be ensured that all middle and high schools, vocational and other colleges will have appropriately sized science laboratories. Science, engineering and medical departments in academic institutions and universities and colleges will be selected for special support to raise the standard of teaching and research. To begin with, a significant number of academic institutions, specially the universities, as also engineering and medical institutions, would be selected for this support to make an impact. Flexible mechanisms for induction of new faculty in key areas of science would be developed. Constancy of support and attention will be ensured over at least a ten-year period.

4. New Funding Mechanisms for Basic Research

The setting up of more efficient funding mechanisms will be examined, either by creating new structures or by strengthening or restructuring the existing ones, for promotion of basic research in science, medical and engineering institutions. In particular, administrative and financial procedures will be simplified to permit efficient operation of research programmes in diverse institutions across the country.

Creation of world class facilities in carefully selected and nationally relevant fields will be undertaken, to enhance our international competitiveness in areas where we have strengths, opportunities or natural advantages. Indigenous expertise will be used to the maximum extent possible. This would help in nurturing high quality talent and expertise in experimental science and engineering.

5. Human Resource Development

The number of scientists and technologists, while being large in absolute numbers, is not commensurate with the requirements in quality and when measured on a per capita basis. The demand is bound to increase in the coming years with more intensive activities involving science and technology. There is need to progressively increase the rate of generation of high quality skilled human resource at all levels. This process would naturally entail reversing the present flow of talent away from science, by initiating new and innovative schemes to attract and nurture young talent with an aptitude for research, and by providing assured career opportunities in academia, industry, Government or other sectors.In order to encourage quality and productivity in science and technology, mobility of scientists and technologists between industry, academic institutions and research laboratories will be ensured.

For building up the human resource base in relevant areas, the agencies and departments concerned with science and technology will make available substantial funding from their allocation. Flexible mechanisms will be put in place in academic and research institutions to enable researchers to change fields and bring new inputs into traditional disciplines, and also to develop inter-disciplinary areas. There will be emphasis on a continuing process of retraining and reskilling to keep pace with the rapid advances taking place. Wherever considered necessary, training abroad will be resorted to, so as to build up a skilled base rapidly.

Women constitute almost half the population of the country. They must be provided significantly greater opportunities for higher education and skills that are needed to take up R&D as a career. For this, new procedures, and flexibility in rules and regulations, will be introduced to meet their special needs.

New mechanisms would be instituted to facilitate the return of scientists and technologists of Indian origin to India, as also their networking, to contribute to Indian science and technology.

Schemes for continuing education and training of university and college teachers in contemporary research techniques and in emerging areas of science will be strengthened and new innovative programmes started.

It will also be ensured that higher education is available to the widest possible section of creative students, transcending social and economic barriers.

6. Technology Development, Transfer and Diffusion

A strong base of science and engineering research provides a crucial foundation for a vibrant programme of technology development. Priority will be placed on the development of technologies which address the basic needs of the population; make Indian industries — small, medium or large — globally competitive; make the country economically strong; and address the security concerns of the nation. Special emphasis will be placed on equity in development, so that the benefits of technological growth reach the majority of the population, particularly the disadvantaged sections, leading to an improved quality of life for every citizen of the country. These aspects require technology foresight, which involves not only forecasting and assessment of technologies but also their social, economic and environmental consequences.

The growth rate in productivity of the Indian economy has been below its true potential, and the contribution to it of technological factors is inadequate. Similarly, Indian exports today derive their comparative advantage through resource and labour rather than through the power of technological innovation. The transformation of new ideas into commercial successes is of vital importance to the nation’s ability to achieve high economic growth and global competitiveness. Accordingly, special emphasis will be given not only to R&D and the technological factors of innovation, but also to the other equally important social, institutional and market factors needed for adoption, diffusion and transfer of innovation to the productive sectors.

Intensive efforts will be launched to develop innovative technologies of a breakthrough nature; and to increase our share of high-tech products. Aggressive international bench-marking will be carried out. Simultaneously, efforts will be made to strengthen traditional industry so as to meet the new requirements of competition through the use of appropriate science and technology. This industry is particularly important as it provides employment at lower per capita investment, involves low energy inputs, and carries with it unique civilizational traditions and culture. Value addition, and creation of wealth through reassessment, redistribution and repositioning of our intellectual, capital and material resource will be achieved through effective use of science and technology.

Deriving value from technology-led exports and export of technologies will be facilitated through new policy initiatives, incentives and legislation. This will include intensive networking of capabilities and facilities within the country.

Rigid Quality Standards, and Accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories according to international requirements, will be given an enhanced push to enable Indian industry to avoid non-tariff barriers in global trade.

A comprehensive and well-orchestrated programme relating to education, R&D and training in all aspects of technology management will be launched. To begin with, Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and other selected institutions will be encouraged to initiate these programmes.

7. Promotion of Innovation

Innovation will be supported in all its aspects. A comprehensive national system of innovation will be created covering science and technology as also legal, financial and other related aspects. There is need to change the ways in which society and economy performs, if innovation has to fructify.

8. Industry and Scientific R&D

Every  effort will be made to achieve synergy between industry and scientific research. Autonomous Technology Transfer Organizations will be created as associate organizations of universities and national laboratories to facilitate transfer of the know-how generated to industry. Increased encouragement will be given, and flexible mechanisms will be evolved to help, scientists and technologists to transfer the know-how generated by them to the industry and be a partner in receiving the financial returns. Industry will be encouraged to financially adopt or support educational and research institutions, fund courses of interest to them, create professional chairs etc. to help direct S&T endeavours towards tangible industrial goals.

There has to be increased investments by industry in R&D in its own interest to achieve global competitiveness to be efficient and relevant. Efforts by industry to carry out R&D, either in-house or through outsourcing, will be supported by fiscal and other measures. To increase their investments in R&D, innovative mechanisms will be evolved.

9. Indigenous Resources and Traditional Knowledge

Indigenous knowledge, based on our long and rich tradition, would be further developed and harnessed for the purpose of wealth and employment generation. Innovative systems to document, protect, evaluate and to learn from India’s rich heritage of traditional knowledge of the natural resources of land, water and bio-diversity will be strengthened and enlarged. Development of technologies that add value to India’s indigenous resources and which provide holistic and optimal solutions that are suited to Indian social-cultural-economic ethos will be developed.A concerted plan to intensify research on traditional systems of medicine, so as to contribute to fundamental advances in health care, and leading to commercialisation of effective products will be undertaken; appropriate norms of validation and standardization will be enforced. A purposeful programme to enhance the Indian share of the global herbal product market will be initiated.

10. Technologies for Mitigation and Management of Natural Hazards

Science and technology has an important role in any general strategy to address the problems of mitigation and management of the impacts of natural hazards. A concerted action plan to enhance predictive capabilities and preparedness for meeting emergencies arising from floods, cyclones, earthquakes, drought, landslides and avalanches will be drawn up. Measures will be undertaken to promote research on natural phenomena that lead to disasters and human activities that aggravate them. This will be with a view to developing practical technological solutions for pre-disaster preparedness, and mitigation and management of post- disaster situations.

11. Generation and Management of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), have to be viewed, not as a self-contained and distinct domain, but rather as an effective policy instrument that would be relevant to wide ranging socio-economic, technological and political concepts. The generation and fullest protection of competitive intellectual property from Indian R&D programmes will be encouraged and promoted.

The process of globalisation is leading to situations where the collective knowledge of societies normally used for common good is converted to proprietary knowledge for commercial profit of a few. Action will be taken to protect our indigenous knowledge systems, primarily through national policies, supplemented by supportive international action. For this purpose, IPR systems which specially protect scientific discoveries and technological innovations arising out of such traditional knowledge will be designed and effectively implemented.

Our legislation with regard to Patents, Copyrights and other forms of Intellectual Property will ensure that maximum incentives are provided for individual inventors, and to our scientific and technological community, to undertake large scale and rapid commercialization, at home and abroad.

The development of skills and competence to manage IPR and leveraging its influence will be given a major thrust. This is an area calling for significant technological insights and legal expertise and will be handled differently from the present, and with high priority.

12. Public Awareness of Science and Technology

There is growing need to enhance public awareness of the importance of science and technology in everyday life, and the directions where science and technology is taking us. People must be able to consider the implications of emerging science and technology options in areas which impinge directly upon their lives, including the ethical and moral, legal, social and economic aspects. In recent years, advances in biotechnology and information technology have dramatically increased public interest in technology options in wide ranging areas. Scientific work and policies arising from these have to be highly transparent and widely understood.

Support for wide dissemination of scientific knowledge, through the support of science museums, planetaria, botanical gardens and the like, will be enhanced. Every effort will be made to convey to the young the excitement in scientific and technological advances and to instill scientific temper in the population at large. Special support will be provided for programmes that seek to popularize and promote science and technology in all parts of the country. Programmes will also be developed to promote learning and dissemination of science through the various national languages, to enable effective science communication at all levels.

A closer interaction of those involved in the natural sciences and technology, social sciences, humanities and other scholarly pursuits will be facilitated to bring about mutual reinforcement, added value and impact.

13. International Science and Technology Cooperation

Scientific research and technology development can benefit greatly by international cooperation and collaboration. Common goals can be effectively addressed by pooling both material and intellectual resources. International collaborative programmes, especially those contributing directly to our scientific development and security objectives, will be encouraged between academic institutions and national laboratories in India and their counterparts in all parts of the world, including participation in mega science projects as equal partners. Special emphasis will be placed on collaborations with other developing countries, and particularly neighbouring countries, with whom India shares many common problems. International collaboration in science and technology would be fully used to further national interests as an important component of foreign policy initiatives.

14. Fiscal Measures

Innovative fiscal measures are critical to ensure successful implementation of the policy objectives. New methods are required for incentivising R&D activities, particularly in industry. New strategies have to be formulated for attracting higher levels of public and private investments in scientific and technological development. A series of both tax and non-tax fiscal instruments have to be evolved to ensure a leap-frogging process of development. The formulation of a focused strategy and the designing of new methods and instruments requires inputs from economists, financial experts and management experts and scientists. For this purpose, the apex S&T advisory body will constitute a dedicated task-force to suggest appropriate fiscal measures to subserve the policy objectives.

15. Monitoring

Effective, expeditious, transparent and science-based monitoring and reviewing mechanisms will be significantly strengthened, and wherever not available will be put in place. It will be ensured that the scientific community is involved in, and responsible for, smooth and speedy implementation.

16. The New Vision

To build a new and resurgent India that continues to maintain its strong democratic and spiritual traditions, that remains secure not only militarily but also socially and economically, it is important to draw on the many unique civilizational qualities that define the inner strength of India; this has been intrinsically based on an integrated and holistic view of nature and of life. The Science and Technology Policy 2003 will be implemented so as to be in harmony with our world view of the larger human family all around. It will ensure that science and technology truly uplifts the Indian people and indeed all of humanity.