If you ask anyone in India as to what past few days have been all about — on the governmental front — you’ll here a unanimous ‘Bihar Elections’ chant and the rather scathing defeat for PM Modi’s BJP. In the midst of all that extravaganza however, the Indian Govt. has launched an impressive, $150 Million Imprint-India project, to boost research within a nation — largely known as an outsourcing hub rather than innovation centre.
Let’s get to the brief of this new project first.
Imprint-India (IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology) is a joint initiative by the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The project, co-headed by perhaps two of Asia’s biggest universities, has been tasked with developing a roadmap for research to solve major engineering challenges in 10 technology domains relevant to India.
An Inter-Ministerial Group comprising officials from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), Ministry of Defence, Department of Science & Technology, Department of Biotechnology, and the Ministry of Rural Development, among others, will receive research proposals from various institutes to develop affordable technologies in India and fund those which are deemed worthy.
PM Modi, in his speeches across the globe and within India, has continuously stressed the importance and need of research oriented studies within the country, where the current education is targeted more towards better scores and rote learning. India’s education system has been under continuous criticism within the country, for its inability to bring out practical applications and its undue focus towards theoretical learning.
Imprint India, apart from its mission to develop more of indigenous technologies to lessen India’s massive reliance on foreign tech, is also an attempt to correct that very education system as well. The project’s importance can be understood from the fact, that it was launched in the presence of both the Prime Minister, and the President of India.
Do note though, that while India ranks second in terms of patent filing and third in terms of research publications in the field of nano-technology, we still have to import almost all of the equipments and materials required to conduct these researches. With Imprint India, the Government is looking to fund such noteworthy ideas and develop these research requirements within the country.
Launching the project on Monday, PM Modi said,
Science is universal but technology has to be local.
Society is becoming technology-driven. It is important to understand the importance of this and look towards affordable technology. We have to think about how our institutions can set up their own incubation centres to help the industries.
The 10 areas where project will focus on, include Health care, information and communication technology, energy, sustainable habitat, nano-technology hardware, water resources and river systems, advanced materials, manufacturing, security and defence, and environmental science and climate change.