The government has decided to make it mandatory for over 5,000 scientists, working in different central agencies including the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to undertake 12 hours of lecture classes in an academic year in public-funded schools and colleges across the country.
Announcing the decision, Union science and technology minister Jitendra Singh said it would be “mandatory” for the scientists to formally take classes in schools and colleges which would be identified for this purpose in coordination with the Ministry of Human Resources Development.
The minister said this kind of engagement would be “free of any honorarium” and it would be part of the duty the scientists have already committed to do.
He said the government was devising a methodology depending upon the scientists’ area of interest, area of excellence and specialisation.
The minister also announced a special promotion scheme– KIRAN (Knowledge, Involvement, Research, Advancement through Nurturing) for women scientists “to bring about, as far as possible, gender parity in the field of science and technology”.
“There are a number of women scientists who have inevitable break in the continuous career…we are trying to evolve a mechanism (to see) that we don’t lose out to them and they don’t lose out to us,” Singh said while listing initiatives of his ministry.
Giving a detailed account of the achievements and initiatives taken in the first 100 days of Narendra Modi government, Singh said the ministries under his charge had been able to scale-up scientific research to address several key socio-economic issues. This has been achieved by collaborating with other ministries while making a concerted effort to build scientific temper among the youth.
Highlighting specific achievements, he said that the department of science and technology got approval of Expenditure Finance Committee for India’s participation in Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project involving astronomy research institutes in India, US, Canada, Japan and China.
TMT will be the world’s largest telescope when it becomes operational in 2023, capable of peeping into the farthest corners of the Universe and address some of the most fundamental scientific problems of this century.
About other initiative, the minister said three new vaccines including indigenously developed Rotavirus vaccine will be provided to all Indian children as part of India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). A fourth vaccine for adults to protect against Japanese Encephalitis will be introduced in high-priority districts.