Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Three years’ achievements better than 30 years: Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said the three years’ achievements of his ministry are better than the previous 30 years.

“There will always be scope to develop but the last three years of Ministry’s achievement is better than that of last 30 years… we will double that in next few years,” the minister said.

Harsh Vardhan said more than 1,000 scientists have returned to India recently because the situation has improved drastically.

Looking to double the number of inventions, stopping brain drain, improving the quality of universities, setting up at least six super computers this year and training one lakh scientists in the next two years, his ministry also showcased its three years of work.

“We are inferior to none and in many fields like weather forecasting, early tsunami and earthquake observations and warning we have become better than others,” Harsh Vardhan, who assumed the additional charge of the Environment Ministry on May 22, said.

He said his ministry is also working on ways of improving agricultural production to double farmers’ income by 2022.

“Even for the high ended science, we have done quite well… we launched National Monsoon Mission last year and provided services to 21 million farmers… those farmers are producing a positive impact in GDP worth Rs 50,000 crore and now we have decided to increase our outreach,” he said.

Speaking of foreign partnership, the minister said at present India is working on projects in collaboration with 80 countries of which 40 are active.

“In foreign collaborations, the approach has changed. We work on their strength and our demands,” he said.

Speaking on one of the flagship projects — National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) that aims at helping start-ups across the country in terms of both funding and incubation support — the minister said that unlike last year, the target is to double the number of incubators to 25.

Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, pointed out the need to utilise the infrastructure to its fullest potential.

“We have huge science and technology infrastructure in the country. About Rs 20,000 crore of it is added every year. But maintenance is still an issue… The need is to develop the workforce which uses that infrastructure and maintains it,” Sharma said.

He also pointed at the ministry’s scheme for empowering women scientists — KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing) — and said it’s not about reservation but creating a level playing field.

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