The Union Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India has initiated a novel scheme VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research), Faculty Scheme of Science & Engineering Research Board, that allows foreign-based scientists to contribute to the Indian growth by working part-time in Indian laboratories and academic institutions. The web portal was launched in New Delhi today by the Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Harshvardhan. While launching the VAJRA portal, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the portal VAJRA will not only help India to boost the global ranking of Indian institutions but also draw the best of research personnel to the country. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that India has a scientific collaboration with as many as 80 countries.With the introduction of the VAJRA scheme, the Ministry plans to invite top foreign scientists, including persons of Indian origin, to spend up to three months in Indian institutions.The area of research to be undertaken by visiting faculty members under the scheme would have to be at the cutting edge of science and technology and also be of relevance to India.”
The Minister added that “Earlier we had an issue of brain drain but with this issue we will be able to transform it into brain gain.” The foreign faculty members selected under the scheme would reside in India up to three months in a year and would be provided a lump sum amount of 15,000 dollars in the first month of residence and US 10,000 per month for the second and third month.A commemorative stamp was also released to mark the occasion of 250 years of Survey of India by the Minister of State for Communication (I/C) and Railways Shri Manoj Sinha. On the occasion, Shri Manoj Sinha said that "Survey of India has the distinct honour of printing the first Postage Stamp of India and the first copy of the Constitution of India.” The Minister said that the 250-year old Survey of India has adopted newer technology to overcome challenges and have started publishing digital maps. “Technology is changing very fast and the Survey of India is working in tandem so as to meet the expectations of the country,” Shri Sinha added.