Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that Science & Technology and innovation are planned to be used as tools for economic growth and employment generation. Accordingly the government has given priority to these areas across the Union Budget, he said. The Minister recalled as to how the Prime Minister while addressing the National Science Congress in Mysore, in January this year, had said that the good governance is also about integrating science and technology into the choices we make and the strategies we pursue. Accordingly the government even while taking measures to control overall fiscal deficit, had clearly increased budgets to various departments of the government in areas of Science & Technology.
Various Departments under his Ministries have embarked upon several collaborative projects on national priorities such as National Supercomputing Mission to ensure nations competitiveness in supercomputing with Department of Electronics and Information Technology; envisaged to implement IMPRINT projects with Ministry of Human Resource Development; shaping a joint R&D initiative to work in the areas of fuel efficiency and emission control technologies with Ministry of Railways (MoR); and working on R&D component of electric mobility mission with Department of Heavy industry.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan expressed satisfaction with budgetary allocations for his Ministries too for the ensuing financial year.
The Minister said all in his ministries have been gearing up to work in a concerted and coordinated manner for the overall objective of higher economic growth, employment and social equity. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched several Missions and his Ministries are working in a synergistic manner with the other Ministries to leverage these efforts, such as Make in India, Swasth Bharat, Swachh Bharat, Innovate in India, Start-up India and Stand-up India, among others. The focus is on Affordable Healthcare including Phyto-Pharmaceuticals & Bio-therapeutics, Food & Food Processing, Sustainable Energy, Affordable Housing along with Green Buildings, Advance & Nano-materials, Ocean Exploration, Climate Change, Weather Forecasting for Farmers and Fishermen, Wealth from Waste, Aroma & Herbals, Harnessing Ocean resources and genome programme livestock.
The Minister said that he himself had been calling upon the scientific community in all departments of his ministries to synergize their efforts to contribute to such challenging areas for human welfare. The Minister pointed out that this does not mean that there has been any de-emphasis on basic research. “You know the government is considering instituting the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India and intends to promote other basic research too” he added. Allocations under Budgetary heads for promoting Innovation, Technology Development and Deployment in various departments have been raised many fold in the recent Union Budget. Major focus would be laid upon creating incubation facilities for spin-off and start-ups. The Minister said various departments would hand hold innovators so as to create a new segment of knowledgebase enterprises. This would help boost the economy step-by-step. Focus is also on some recently launched initiatives aimed at societal priorities such as Science & Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) to explore the modern scientific roots of Indian traditional knowledge; advanced manufacturing for Make in India; and waste processing technology for Swachh Bharat. Focus would also be on disease control and prevention through finding new and cheaper vaccines, increasing of agricultural production, animal health, furthering Medical Technology (Med-Tech) Innovations, solid waste management etc, A mission on Biotherapeutics called “Aroma Mission” will be launched soon, he added.
With increased allocations, besides further fathoming the secrets of the oceans, Agro-Meteorological Advisory service units to cover all farmers are to be expanded. Efforts are on to rope in various agencies, including NGOs at sub-district level for organizing awareness and training programs at Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Spatial and temporal resolutions of weather forecasts are to be increased with introduction of Now-casting (up to 3 hours) and Extended Range Forecasts (15-20days). A major thrust in the Union Budget for 2016-17 is to improve agricultural output and to increase the income of farmers as part of major effort to weather proof the Indian Agriculture. To facilitate the objective of helping the farming community including the farmers over the northeastern region, as envisaged in the Union Budget, the Ministry of Earth Sciences will be generating high resolution weather forecasts (10 km resolution), for which the exiting High Performance Computing facility will be upgraded to 10 Petaflop facility. It is planned to make critical procurement of Doppler Weather Radars for Himalayan States for improving the services over the Western Himalayan Hill states of Jammu & Kashmir; Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Ministry of Earth Sciences and CSIR are working together for developing indigenous airport meteorological instruments.