Emphasizing adopting an integrated approach rather than acting in silos, Dr. Jitendra Singh stressed the urgency of creating an 'innovation ecosystem' for start-ups.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Minister of State PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that the future belongs to the technology-driven economy, and stressed the urgency of creating an ‘innovation ecosystem’ for start-ups.
Dr. Singh was speaking at the National Technology Day 2022 event, which coincides with India becoming a nuclear-empowered country after successful nuclear tests at Pokhran on May 11, 1998. India is already on the ascent; and science, technology and innovation will be the key determinants of the roadmap for the next 25 years when it celebrates its 100 years of independence.
At the event, Dr. Singh also presented awards to the seven most successful startups. The awards are given for the pioneering work in Quantum data security, Covid-19 testing kits, AI-powered robot for electronic assembly, cryogenic technologies, and cybersecurity systems. This award is given to a technology startup for developing indigenous technology with potential for commercialization. In addition to the trophy, the award includes a cash prize of Rs15 lakh.
The Minister also presented awards to Women Scientists in Translational Research and Women Entrepreneurs, the National Awards for successful commercialization of indigenous technology, and the award under MSME category.
Dr. Singh said that both the startups and women entrepreneurs have a high priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is taking all the steps to promote them to their full potential. Pledging complete support to startups by proactively reaching out to them, the Minister promised full financial support and even offered to change the rules to strengthen the support system.
He also launched the Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) and Scientific Research Infrastructure for Maintenance and Networks (SRIMAN) guidelines on the occasion. He said that SSR as an institutional mechanism is a significant step to reach out to the widest spectrum of stakeholders of S&T with knowledge, human resources, and infrastructure to make effective use of existing assets for the benefit of society. He added that, in tune with the spirit of CSR to earmark some profit for public service, SSR will enable sharing of knowledge and infrastructure.
Dr. Singh also recalled Modi’s inaugural address of 104th Indian Science Congress, in which he advocated for SSR for engaging science for the societal welfare. Dwelling on the SRIMAN guidelines, Dr. Singh said scientific infrastructure is the foundation of research and innovation, and facilitating its availability, accessibility, and sharing needs to become a key goal, particularly for countries like India with limited resources.
The Minister added that manufacturing of indigenous instruments to reduce dependency on imports is also essential, along with human resource development for operations and management of Research Infrastructure (RI).
Dr. S. Chandrasekhar, Secretary, DST, said, “Guidelines’ scope extends to all government scientific departments, research organizations, and grantee agencies that support development of Research Infrastructure (RI) and all the organizations receiving funds for conducting research and development. Private institutions can also be partners and/or beneficiaries in such endeavors based on mutual agreement.
Rajesh Kumar Pathak, Secretary of the Technology Development Board (TDB), said that after successfully conducting nuclear test in Pokhran on May 11, 1998, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared India a full nuclear country. May 11 is observed as National Technology Day and is celebrated every year to commemorate the achievements of scientists, researchers, engineers, and all others involved in science and technology.
TDB, a statutory body of the DST, by the virtue of its mandate, honors technological innovations that have helped in the national growth under the aegis of National Awards since 1999.