The Bill will provide high-level strategic direction for research, innovation and entrepreneurship in healthcare
Union Minister for Science & Technology Dr Jitendra Singh said that Anusandhan National Research Foundation will define the stature of India in 2047.
Replying to the discussion on Anusandhan National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha, Dr Singh said, the Anusandhan Act will pave the way for India to join the select league of developed nations.
“This is a Bill which is going to have a long-term effect, long-term outcomes and all of us, each citizen of India, including those sitting on the other side, are going to be stakeholders. To that extent, this is possibly history in the making,” he said.
The Bill will provide high-level strategic direction for research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the fields of natural sciences including mathematical sciences, engineering and technology, environmental and earth sciences, health and agriculture.
The Minister said it will also promote scientific and technological interfaces of humanities and social sciences to promote, monitor and provide support as required for such research and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Dr Singh said the Bill will hike the R&D spending in the country. The Executive Council of NRF is mandated not only to monitor the progress of the different projects but also to analyse the accountability of the funding at different level stages.
“(It envisages spending of) Rs 50,000 crore for five years, out of which Rs 36,000 crore, almost 80 per cent, is going to come from non-government sources, from industry and philanthropists, from domestic as well as outside sources,” he said.
The Act will pave the way to establish NRF that will seed, grow and promote Research and Development (R&D) and foster a culture of research and innovation throughout India’s universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories.
The Act will establish NRF, an apex body to provide high-level strategic direction of scientific research in the country as per recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), at a total estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crores during five years (2023-28).
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will be the administrative Department of NRF which will be governed by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines. Since the scope of the NRF is wide-ranging – impacting all ministries – the Prime Minister will be the ex-officio President of the Board and the Union Minister of Science & Technology & Union Minister of Education will be the ex-officio Vice-Presidents. NRF’s functioning will be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
NRF will forge collaborations among the industry, academia, and government departments and research institutions, and create an interface mechanism for participation and contribution of industries and State governments in addition to the scientific and line ministries. It will focus on creating a policy framework and putting in place regulatory processes that can encourage collaboration and increased spending by the industry on R&D.
The Act will also repeal the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) established by an Act of Parliament in 2008 and subsume it into NRF which has an expanded mandate and covers activities over and above the activities of SERB.