M. Dinesh Varma

It will help to harness science and technology for economic empowerment

Concept is to create environment to empower common man through application of S&T

Another objective is to broadbase benefits of scientific and technological progress

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu is to shortly have a high-profile panel of experts to harness science and technology for economic empowerment and oversee popularisation of science education in the State.

The 10-member State Science Vision Committee will be chaired by an eminent scientist, technologist, senior bureaucrat and a representative from the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The constitution of an expert panel follows Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal’s direction to the Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology at a recent review meeting in Delhi.

The S&T councils from all States have also been directed to form vision committees to identify State-specific development action plans and channelise research and technology development. Members from the panel will comprise a sub committee to identify the focus areas.

“The underlying concept is to create an environment for economic empowerment of the common man through application of science and technology,” S. Vincent, member-secretary of the State S&T Council told The Hindu.

Another important objective is to broadbase the benefits of scientific and technological progress. The focus will be as much on encouraging the development of appropriate technologies for resolving existing problems as on replicating available technologies in communities, he said.

The nomination of experts for the vision committee in Tamil Nadu and a draft framework of proposals is likely to be ready in a week or so, Mr. Vincent said. These would be submitted to the Department of Science and Technology, which is extending the seed money for constituting the committees.

These expert committees are required to develop working scientific models for addressing issues in areas such as agriculture or healthcare. They are also mandated with generating quality scientific manpower to meet the shortfall of candidates in this category.

The constitution of vision committees comes against the backdrop of general disinterest towards science among youth. With the cream of student talents veering away from science and research streams, the country is faced with a growing deficit in scientific personnel. The experts panel is also expected to bolster the ongoing efforts of the State S&T council to create mass awareness of science and technology, cultivate scientific temper in youth and popularise scientific knowledge in rural areas, it is pointed out.