The government has initiated a consultation process for formulation of a new national Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020), a statement said. The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (Office of PSA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have jointly initiated a decentralised, bottom-up and inclusive process for the formulation of the new policy, it said.
The fifth S&T policy of the country is being formulated at a crucial juncture when India and the world are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As the crisis changes the world, the new policy with its decentralised manner of formation will reorient STI in terms of priorities, sectoral focus, the way research is done, and technologies are developed and deployed for larger socio-economic welfare," the statement issued on Tuesday said. The formulation process for STIP 2020 is organised into four highly interlinked tracks, according to the statement.
Track I involves an extensive public and expert consultation process through Science Policy Forum - a dedicated platform for soliciting inputs from larger public and expert pool during and after the policy drafting process.
Track II comprises experts-driven thematic consultations to feed evidence-informed recommendations into the policy drafting process. Twenty-one focused thematic groups have been constituted for the purpose. Track III involves consultations with ministries and states, while track IV constitutes apex level multi-stakeholder consultation.
For track III, nodal officers are being nominated in states and in ministries, departments and agencies of the Government of India for extensive intra-state and intra-department consultation.
For track IV, consultation with industry bodies, global partners and inter-ministerial and inter-state consultations represented at the highest levels are being carried out.
The consultation processes on different tracks have already started and are running in parallel. The track-II thematic group (TG) consultation started with a series of information sessions last week. During the information sessions, Akhilesh Gupta, the head of Policy Coordination and Programme Monitoring Division of DST, made the presentations and steered the discussions.
The sessions were attended by around 130 members of the 21 thematic groups along with 25 policy research fellows and scientists of DST and the Office of PSA.
"The STI policy for the new India will also integrate the lessons of COVID-19, including building of an 'atmanirbhar bharat' through ST&I (Science and Technology and Innovation) by leveraging our strengths in R&D, design, S&T workforce and institutions, huge markets, demographic dividend, diversity and data," said Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.
The six-month process involves broad-based consultations with all stakeholders within and beyond the scientific ecosystem of the country, including academia, industry, government, global partners, young scientists and technologists, civic bodies and the general public.