New science research board ‘takes effect’, Science Minister

Anusandhan National Research Foundation aims to provide strategic direction for research, innovation and entrepreneurship in several fields of science

February 06, 2024 10:33 pm | Updated 10:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh in Parliament on February 06, 2024.

Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh in Parliament on February 06, 2024.

The Centre on Monday said that provisions of the newly constituted research board, Anusandhan National Research Foundation (ANRF), had come into effect and announced the appointment of Abhay Karandikar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST), as interim CEO of the body on Tuesday.

The ANRF aims to be a research funding organisation that will have a corpus of ₹50,000 crore at the outset with nearly ₹36,000 crore projected to come from the private sector. The aim of this new funding body is to “…provide high level strategic direction for research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the fields of natural sciences including mathematical sciences, engineering and technology, environmental and earth sciences, health and agriculture, and scientific and technological interfaces of humanities and social sciences…”

The DST in a press statement on Tuesday said that “…provisions of the ANRF Act had been brought into force on February 5, 2024”.  Earlier this week, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman provisioned ₹2,000 crore towards the ANRF for the financial year 2024-25.

The ANRF Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament in 2023. However, the ‘rules’ accompanying the text of the Act are yet to be made public. Mr. Karandikar told The Hindu that the rules had been “notified” and would be done “30 days after public notification”.

“The ANRF act coming into force is a heartening piece of news for scientists, researchers, innovators and startups. For the first time after Independence, under the leadership of the Honourable PM Shri Narendra Modi, India now has a National Research Foundation called Anusandhan”, said, Mr. Jitendra Singh, Science Minister, posted on X on Tuesday.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) would be the administrative department of NRF and led by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines. The Prime Minister will be the ex-officio President of the Board and the Union Minister of Science & Technology & Union Minister of Education will be the ex-officio Vice-Presidents. NRF’s functioning will be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

The ANRF subsumes the existing Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), established in 2008, and in many respects identical to the ANRF. The rationale is that the ANRF had an “...expanded mandate and covers activities over and above the activities of SERB,” the press statement added.

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