Home Spotlight India’s Great leap in R & D: Anusandhan National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 passed

India’s Great leap in R & D: Anusandhan National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 passed

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The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi replying to no-confidence motion in the Parliament mocked opposition for their lack of seriousness in important legislative business. He made a mention of the NRF Bill and its significance. Here is the latest update:

The Rajya Sabha on Aug 9 passed Anusandhan National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 with a Voice vote. It had been earlier passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday, 7th August 2023. The bill sets in motion the creation of National Research Foundation, 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). Out of this amount, Rs. 36,000 crore, almost 80%, is going to come from non-government sources, from industry & philanthropists, from domestic as well as outside sources.

Introducing the Bill, Dr Jitendra Singh said, when passed by Parliament the Act 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 new Act 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.

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 for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The minister said that “Anusandhan National Research Foundation” will define the stature of India at 2047.

Clarifying that the Bill takes care of State Universities and Institutions by earmarking separate funds, Dr Jitendra Singh said the bill envisages separate competition within the State Universities and Institutions with separate allocation exclusively for them.Dr Jitendra Singh said that the NRF envisaged by PM Modi will catapult us to the league of developed nations pioneering new research in new frontiers.

It may be recalled that on 28th June, 2023 the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in the Parliament. The approved Bill 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 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.

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