India’s Performance in Research is Impressive in Recent Years Says Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan
India’s performance in research is promising and impressive in recent years as is evident from the fact that India’s position globally in scientific publications, as per Scopus database, has improved from 12th position in 2005 to 6th position in 2013 with a growth rate of 13.4% as against the world average of 4.4% during 2005-2013.
This was stated by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.
In the field of nano-science and technology, India’s position has moved from 6th in 2011 to 3rd in 2013. Recent report of Springer Nature has indicated that India is ascending towards world-class science and our country is at 13th position globally on an index of world-class scientific journals. Between 2012 and 2014, Indian Chemistry research increased rapidly with a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% and it stood second only to the United States of America in terms of number of publications.
Government has instituted many schemes to promote indigenous talent of scientists for advancement of scientific research in the country. The Swarnajayanti Fellowship and Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), Faculty Scheme of Department of Science and Technology (DST), J.C Bose Fellowship of Science and Engineering Research Board and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize instituted by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are all meant for recognition of indigenous talent and outstanding contribution of scientists to science and technology by Indian scientists. Some other measures taken by the Government to attract more and more talented scientists towards advancement of research include successive increase in plan allocations for Scientific Departments, offering attractive research fellowships, strengthening infrastructure for Research and Development (R&D) and implementing programs like Nano Mission, Solar Energy Research Initiative etc.
A total of 22100 persons has been granted financial assistance by the DST and Department of Biotechnology during the last three years including current year, the Minister said.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also stated that there is no shortage of scientists and technologists in various research institutions/laboratories under the various departments of the Ministry of Science & Technology.
Government has taken various steps to create more institutions and strengthen facilities for higher education and research in the country. It has established 5 Indian Institute of Science, Education & Research (IISERs) at Pune, Mohali, Kolkata, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram on the lines of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. In addition, Government has also established 11 new autonomous S&T institutions under the Ministry of Science and Technology to undertake research in new and emerging areas of S&T such as National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad; Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati; National Centre of Molecular Materials (NCMM), Thiruvananthapuram, National Agri Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali, Translational Health Science and TechnologyInstitute, Faridabad, Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad etc apart from establishing Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), an autonomous body by an Act of Parliament to promote scientific research in all frontline areas of science and engineering to academic institutions, research laboratories and other R&D organisations. Government has also approved setting up of new IITs, IIITs and universities in various states of the country.
To strengthen facilities in emerging and frontline S&T areas in academic institutions, Government has launched various schemes such as Fund for Improvement of S&T Infrastructure (FIST), DBT- BUILDER (DBT-Boost to University Inter-disciplinary Departments of Life Sciences for Education and Research), Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE) with special S&T packages to spread R&D base for North-Eastern Region, J&K and Bihar etc.
National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad set up by the Department of Science & Technology in 2010 has been providing support to grassroots technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge in the country. NIF, Ahmedabad has built a database of more than 2,25,000 technological ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge practices from over 585 districts of the country. It has recognised more than 775 grass root innovators and school students at the national level apart from providing help in getting thousands of grass root technologies validated/ value added. It has also set up a Fabrication Laboratory for product development apart from strengthening in-house research and development facilities for the initial validation of herbal technologies resulting in filing of over 745 patents on behalf of innovators.
National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) under the Ministry of Science and Technology is engaged in licensing, transfer and commercialisation of technologies and innovations to enterprises in the country. Over the last six decades of its existence, the corporation has forged strong links with large number of R&D organisations/universities/industry associations and has filed 1700 patents and signed 4,874 license agreements for transfer of technologies in different sectors.