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New science and technology policy to be unveiled this year

Staff Reporter
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It will update 2003 policy, in the light of rapid changes in India and the world

Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee assists Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in paying floral tribute to Justice Sir Asutosh Mukherjee, the first president of the Indian Science Congress, during the inception ceremony of the centenary session of the Indian Science Congress Association at the University of Calcutta on Saturday.— Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee assists Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in paying floral tribute to Justice Sir Asutosh Mukherjee, the first president of the Indian Science Congress, during the inception ceremony of the centenary session of the Indian Science Congress Association at the University of Calcutta on Saturday.— Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

India will formulate a new science and technology policy this year, updating an earlier document, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced on Saturday.

“Over the course of the year, we hope to formulate a new science and technology policy that will update the existing policy document of 2003, in the light of the rapidly changing scientific environment of the country and the world,” he said at the inception ceremony of the centenary session of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA).

Dr. Singh, the first Prime Minister to be appointed general president of the ISCA for 2012-13, expressed the hope that scientists would use the centenary year events to reflect on “how we can frame the science and technology policy that reflects our aspiration for making science a spearhead of development in our country.” “We have to keep pace with what is happening elsewhere in the scientific world, and the evolving aspirations of the Indian people.”  

The Union government had taken a “quantum leap” in its ambitions for Indian science, he said. His government had invested like never before in science.

Admitting that he was touched by the gesture of the ISCA council members to appoint him the president, Dr. Singh said his acceptance of the responsibility signalled the government's total support and commitment to Indian science as it passed through a critical decade of innovation.   

Dr. Singh proposed a special lecture, when the technical programmes started in January next, in honour of the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, Asutosh Mukherjee, who was also the first president of the ISCA.

The theme of this year's congress is ‘Science for shaping the future of India.'

Turning to the various events and new initiatives announced in the centenary year, he said the Centre would bring out a publication of 100 high impact discoveries of Indian science during the past 100 years and a Hall of Fame in cyberspace to portray its global contributions.

He also announced a special scheme for 100 doctoral research fellowship in the public-private-partnership mode, between the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Confederation of Indian Industry, and another scheme to invite 25 research scholars from neighbouring countries to undertake doctoral research in India.

“We are, rightly to my mind, focussing our programmes on what we can do to attract our youth to science. There has been some discussion on setting up a science academy for the young during the centenary year. We should also follow up on the proposal after due deliberations,” he said.

During the celebrations, the Centre would also emphasise themes that related science to integrated rural development, renewable energy and public health challenges like malnutrition.

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