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New Delhi : Union Science Technology, Earth Sciences, and Health & Family Welfare MInister Dr.Harsh Vardhan chaired the first of its kind policy consultation with the highly-skilled Indian diaspora to facilitate channels for them to contribute to India’s Science Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) 2020, on November 7, 2020,  evening in New Delhi.

The consultation meeting was attended by Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India Professor K. VijayRaghavan; Secretary Department of Science & Technology, Professor Ashutosh Sharma; Healthcare-Biotech Consultant, Dr Vijay Chauthaiwale; Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs Ms. Renu Pall, and several dignitaries among the Indian Scientific Diaspora from across the globe.

Dr Vardhan said that the landmark policy initiative has been started as India and the world reorient in the present context of the COVID-19 crisis and emphasised,“The consultation aims at generating and streamlining key ideas in the making of STIP 2020 and involving the Indian diaspora as one of major stakeholders in the policy formulation process.” He encouraged the Indian Scientific diaspora to share their suggestions on the policy adding that these suggestions would be collated and considered to be included in the draft STI policy.

“ The upcoming policy aims to address both the first and second generation diaspora by facilitating institutional mechanisms for engagement with Indian ecosystem,” Dr Vardhan pointed out. He said, “The VAIBHAV Summit and the recently launched dedicated, one-stop platform for S&T diaspora engagement, “PRABHASS”, are some proactive steps of the Government towards this engagement.”

Acknowledging the huge untapped potential of the diaspora, Dr Vardhan said that the scientific diaspora contributes a lot in both internationalisation of science and technology development and boosting the country’s technology intensity. He mentioned the significant contributions of the large and highly skilled Indian diaspora communities in forging the development of Indian IT and Biotech industry.

Dr Vardhan pointed out that the past few years have witnessed accelerated national growth placing India as a global STI leader. “There has been a significant rise in the country’s performance in terms of publications, patents and quality of research publications. Per capita R&D expenditure has also increased with greater participation from the private sector. Participation of women in extramural R&D projects has almost doubled. India is also actively engaged in emerging technologies such as nanotechnology,” he said.

He stressed that India aims to connect the diaspora back to Indian scientific and economic ecosystem to accelerate the growth in STI. “Reinforcing their engagement will enable India to leverage its S&T expertise across the globe for robust growth in all areas of Science, Technology and Innovation,”Dr Vardhan said.

Appreciating the suggestions put forward by diaspora scientists, the Science & Technology Minister said, “Indian scientific diaspora is considered one of the most vibrant diaspora communities around the world. People of Indian origin holding leadership roles in academia, industry, and also the Government, even in some of the technologically most advanced countries are revealing evidence of that.”

Outlining the new policy under formulation, Dr Vardhan said, “The core vision of STIP 2020 is the decentralisation of policy designing by making it a bottom-up and inclusive process. It aims to realign priorities, sectoral focus and methods of research and technology development with the goals of larger socio-economic progress. The proposed STI policy is expected to leverage the astounding progress that the STI system has witnessed in recent years and build a long term pathway which must be able to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of millions of young Indian scientists and students.”.