Sci­ence is the Driv­ing Force for So­lu­tions Use­ful to the So­ci­ety: Suresh Prabhu

FICCI Business Digest - - Contents -

“To achieve sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth, trust-based work­ing part­ner­ships are needed, par­tic­u­larly be­tween gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions en­gaged in CSR ac­tiv­i­ties. ”

I mbib­ing and pro­mot­ing sci­ence and sci­en­tific ra­tio­nale can ad­dress ma­jor con­tem­po­rary chal­lenges of eco­nomic growth and so­cial trans­for­ma­tion in so­ci­eties. Given the sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship be­tween sci­ence and so­ci­ety its time that cor­po­rates chan­nel­ize their CSR funds through sci­en­tific in­ter­ven­tions and col­lab­o­rate with NGOs for reach­ing out to the needy sec­tions of so­ci­ety.

Sci­ence over the years has been crit­i­cal to In­dia's devel­op­ment and se­cu­rity and has been a key driver in In­dia's sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy pol­icy. This is ex­pressed in var­i­ous state­ments in­clud­ing the Tech­nol­ogy Pol­icy State­ment, which stressed the point that the fun­da­men­tal ob­jec­tive of sci­ence in In­dia was to meet the ba­sic needs of peo­ple: food, wa­ter, hous­ing, health and ed­u­ca­tion.

Self-re­liance in core sec­tors and in ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies such as atomic en­ergy, space tech­nolo­gies and de­fense-re­lated ap­pli­ca­tions has been an­other im­por­tant driver in In­dia's sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy pol­icy. This thrust has en­abled In­dia to achieve sub­stan­tial progress in sec­tors such as space, and sel­f­re­liance has helped in ap­ply­ing sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy for na­tional devel­op­ment.

And to achieve sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth, trust­based work­ing part­ner­ships are needed, par­tic­u­larly be­tween gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions en­gaged in CSR ac­tiv­i­ties. FICCI-

Aditya Birla CSR Cen­tre for Ex­cel­lence and Vi­j­nana Bharati (VIBHA) jointly or­ga­nized a con­fer­ence on Pro­mot­ing Sci­en­tific In­ter­ven­tions for Trans­form­ing In­dia through CSR on 29 May 2018, which stressed on how sci­ence can be a po­tent force in driv­ing so­cioe­co­nomic devel­op­ment in In­dia.

Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Com­merce & In­dus­try and Civil Avi­a­tion, in his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, said that sci­ence is crit­i­cal par­tic­u­larly in a re­source-scarce coun­try like In­dia. 'Sci­ence is a driv­ing force for pro­vid­ing any so­lu­tion to the prob­lem, par­tic­u­larly in a re­source-scarce so­ci­ety like In­dia for pro­vid­ing so­lu­tions that are use­ful to the so­ci­ety,' said Minister Prabhu.

'In my view, CSR should ideally stand for, “Cor­po­rate Sci­en­tific Re­la­tion­ship”. Only if you have a re­la­tion­ship be­tween cor­po­rates and so­ci­ety only then this will re­sult into some con­crete gains,' Prabhu added.

VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog Mem­ber, mean­while pointed out that if we have to im­prove our po­si­tion in the Global In­no­va­tion In­dex, we have to al­ter the sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy ecosys­tem. 'If you look at In­dia's jour­ney of last 70 years, sci­ence has played a ma­jor role in bring­ing cer­tain level of trans­for­ma­tion in the coun­try. But the un­der­line fea­ture of that growth is that it has been by and large sup­ported by gov­ern­ment in­vest­ments,' Saraswat said. 'It's only in the last 5-7 years, where we have given ma­jor em­pha­sis on how sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy can be used as a trans­for­ma­tion tool for in­clu­sive growth and growth of the econ­omy,' he added.

'And with the new rules and reg­u­la­tions and par­tic­i­pa­tion of the cor­po­rates, CSR has be­come a ma­jor platform for col­lab­o­ra­tion. So, if we have to re­ally make an eco­nomic im­pact through S&T (sci­ence & tech­nol­ogy) and im­prove our po­si­tion in Global In­no­va­tion In­dex of 60 out of 143, we have to al­ter our S&T In­no­va­tion eco-sys­tem,' he added.

Saraswat also called for the global lead­er­ship in the ar­eas of sci­ence, en­gi­neer­ing, tech­nol­ogy, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and in­no­va­tion to make any im­pact. The emer­gence of new tech­nolo­gies has opened up a va­ri­ety of new ap­pli­ca­tions and it's up to us now to use these ap­pli­ca­tions in­ge­niously and with

“The emer­gence of new tech­nolo­gies has opened up a va­ri­ety of new ap­pli­ca­tions and it's up to us now to use these ap­pli­ca­tions in­ge­niously and with in­ge­nu­ity to ex­plore and ex­ploit then fur­ther. And with the es­tab­lished base of mul­ti­ple tech­nolo­gies all over the world, sci­en­tific minds now have to come to­gether for new in­no­va­tions. VK Saraswat NITI Aayog Mem­ber ”

in­ge­nu­ity to ex­plore and ex­ploit then fur­ther. And with the es­tab­lished base of mul­ti­ple tech­nolo­gies all over the world, sci­en­tific minds now have to come to­gether for new in­no­va­tions.

'In other words, sci­ence has to be in league with ma­jor­ity of the needs of the so­ci­ety. In that case the in­vest­ment pol­icy, the uti­liza­tion of avail­able re­sources and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment – these three form the foun­da­tion to trans­form our na­tion into a knowl­edge-based so­ci­ety. The world has re­al­ized that it is pos­si­ble only through in­no­va­tion, which is fun­da­men­tal to eco­nomic well-be­ing, and find­ing new ways what we call in­no­va­tion agenda. He fur­ther added, 'We have seen four el­e­ments here – hu­man, so­ci­ety, gov­ern­ment and busi­ness – and all these can solve the prob­lem of pop­u­la­tion, short­age of en­ergy, ur­ban­iza­tion the prob­lems of en­vi­ron­ment, prob­lems of health, safety and ac­tual trans­porta­tion is­sues and gov­ern­ment in­vest­ments to solve these so­cial is­sues is hap­pen­ing.' 'Now these are the ar­eas in which gov­ern­ment, NGOs and CSR will have to play an in­te­grated role,' said Saraswat.

Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of FICCI, Dilip Chenoy, said that FICCI has been work­ing very closely with economists, busi­ness lead­ers, so­cial sci­en­tists and in­no­va­tors for de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing so­lu­tions for pub­lic good. FICCI's Mil­len­nium Al­liance is one such in­clu­sive platform which lever­ages In­dian cre­ativ­ity, ex­per­tise, and re­sources to iden­tify and scale in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions be­ing de­vel­oped and tested in In­dia to ad­dress devel­op­ment chal­lenges to ben­e­fit base of the pyra­mid pop­u­la­tions across In­dia and the world.

A Jayaku­mar, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Vibha, stated that his or­ga­ni­za­tion had iden­ti­fied 1000 as­so­ciates in 18 states which work with the com­mu­nity through sci­ence and tech­no­log­i­cal in­ter­ven­tions. The ef­fort is to con­nect sci­ence with these or­ga­ni­za­tions to im­part ef­fi­ciency and ef­fec­tive­ness in their op­er­a­tions.

NP Ra­jive, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor, Vibha Vani, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on the method­ol­ogy of im­ple­men­ta­tion of the fo­cal themes of the gov­ern­ment and how cor­po­rates could par­tic­i­pate for suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of their CSR projects.

Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Com­merce & In­dus­try and Civil Avi­a­tion (left) with VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog Mem­ber.

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