P. Sunderarajan

Kapil Sibal unveils Ministry's seven-point action plan

Autonomous board for science and engineering researchRegion-wise clusters for industry-research linkages

HYDERABAD: Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday unveiled a seven-point action plan proposed to be implemented during the next 12 months.

It includes the setting up of a one-million a day plant for conversion of seawater into drinking water off the Tamil Nadu coast by the middle of the year and an autonomous board of science and engineering research, which will create a pool of 1,000 scientific positions for young researchers in India and abroad. .

The Ministry's plan envisages establishment of region-wise clusters for developing linkages between industry and research, with the first one in Chandigarh focussing on nanobiology in a national nanotechnology institute, and formation of an earth commission and an earth system science organisation to integrate programmes on land, ocean and atmosphere sciences. The idea is to provide effective interventions in the areas of environment, climate, land use and ocean resources.

Greater autonomy to CSIR

A law will be brought in to ensure that innovators get better monetary returns for their work and to give greater autonomy to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research for taking 'bolder'' initiatives for public-private partnerships and for investment of knowledge developed by CSIR laboratories as equity in partner industrial units.

The plan also envisages putting in place a national biotechnology development strategy, whose aim will be to set up 50 centres of excellence, create a national pool of 500 research positions over the next five years exclusively for life sciences and biotechnology and establish specialised institutions for animal biotechnology, seri-biotechnology and research for development of technologies relating to public health.

At the inauguration of the 93rd session of the Indian Science Congress here, Mr. Sibal said steps would be taken to set up another 10 million litre a day plant for providing clean drinking water along the coast. The cost of this water would be much lower than what was provided using any other technology in the world.