Methods of boosting centre-state coordination in science, technology and innovation (STI) by developing institutional collaboration, widening the scope of engagements with States and formulating State S&T policies were discussed at the Centre-State STI coordination meeting with representatives and nodal officers of States held on 21stDecember 2021. This was a prepatory meeting with the States before planning a high level meeting with the States on STI.
“Key achievements, priority areas, challenges in STI areas of all the statesare being mapped, and the States are welcome to provide their suggestions and inputs to further enhance the scope of the engagements,” Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Adviser DST, informed during interactions with officials from state S&T councils at the meeting through virtual mode.
During 2020-21 the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) Secretariat at the Department of Science & Technology,Govt. of India, had interacted with all the States during the formulation process of STIP to capture S&T ecosystems at the State level in the country. “This was the first time when States were consulted for any policy formulation in the country” Dr Gupta pointed out.
Dr Gupta discussed the current level of STI engagement of Centre with the States and highlighted the need to enhance STI engagements with States beyond the S&T council level.
“There is need to strengthen the existing S&T engagement mechanism with the States, develop closer linkages and synergy between State and Centre STI ecosystems, encouraging States to formulate their STI policies, creating a mechanism facilitating the flow of STI information and data from Centre to States and vice-versa, capacity building of scientists, technologists and professionals from States and UTs in areas like frontier and futuristic technologies, supercomputing, advanced materials, etc.,” he highlighted.
“Positioning centre-state governance and monitoring mechanisms at appropriate level, sharing of S&T infrastructure between institutions of states and centre as per Scientific Research Infrastructure Management and Networks ‘SRIMAN’ policy guidelines, implementation of Scientific Social Responsibility guidelines by state and central institutions are some key points to be included in the agenda for the future engagements of States with the Centre.” added Dr Gupta.
Senior policy fellows from the Department of Science & Technology presented the status of STI ecosystem of all the states and UT’s of India,covering areas like state startup ranking, state innovation ranking, governance, policy, initiatives, institutional mapping and industrial mapping of STI in the states.
The representatives from States and Union Territoriespointed out that DST’s initiatives would help better coordination among central departments and state S& T councils. They stressed on the need for uniformity among different S&T councils for better collaboration, alignment of S&T councils and centres for policy research, feedback from central departments to states on status of projects, as well as setting up a mechanism for sharing of data between states and centre and vice-versa. They also emphasised on region-specific policies, region-specific research, a good ecosystem with more policy on production activities, policies to generate more employment for youth in the S&T field, short term research projects and the creation of a national digital library for the exchange of ideas. The need for allocation of funds, institutional facilities and manpower for strengthening of state S&T councils were also highlighted at the meeting.