The accent in the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology now is on encouraging private sector in Research and Development (R and D) related activities, said Arabinda Mitra, Advisor and Head, International Division, Department of Science and Technology.
He was inaugurating a three day Indo-South Africa workshop on, “Traditional Medicine System: Sharing Knowledge and Experience” sponsored by the Departments of Science and Technology of India and South Africa and organised by the JSS College of Pharmacy here on Monday.
Stating that the move is expected to contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, he lamented that the growth of the GDP which was around 8.5 per cent had fallen to 5.5 per cent.
Pointing out that in the next budget Science and Technology is likely to get about $ 8.3 billion, he said that over the years the sector has become the prime tool for the economic development of the nation. In R and D India which was in the 15th position has moved to the ninth and by 2017 it is hoped that it will be 6th or 7th. In tune with the stress on inclusive growth efforts are on to convert the economy driven science into output driven science. Thrust will be on innovation from early next year. Adverting to the growing role of universities in research based activities, Mr. Mitra said that in the next five year plan a larger role is envisaged for them.
Stating that more help and encouragement would be given to women researchers, he said that special schemes will be implemented fort them.
Referring to the department’s nano mission, he said that in terms of output it was now 6th in the world and the annual growth was nine per cent. The department is collaborating in 29 projects in South Africa. The Vice Chancellor, JSS University, B. Suresh, who presided, said that the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) is the home of several indigenous communities. Stating that they are well known for their traditional medicinal practices, he said that about 400 medicinal plants are indigenous to the NBR.A compendium has been prepared and a second one is in the offing.
Over the last about two decades efforts had been made to institutionalise the knowledge. Preliminary studies had revealed that they are highly efficacious. He added that all scientific efforts should be for the betterment of mankind. The Chief Director, National Indigenous Knowledge System, DST, South Africa Yonah Seleti said that South Africa is in the process of bringing its indigenous knowledge into the mainstream. The Director, Bilateral Collaboration, DST, South Africa, Punka Mdaka and the Registrar, JSS University, B. Manjunatha also spoke, The Principal, JSS College of Pharmacy, K. Elango welcomed the gathering.
Mr. Arabinda Mitra also released a workshop chronicle during the function.