Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh called upon countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) nations to join hands for enhanced collaboration in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Addressing the Seventh Session of the Heads of Ministries and Agencies of Science and Technology of the SCO Member States, as representative Minister of the host country India,
Dr Jitendra Singh said, India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to work closely with other member countries of the SCO to jointly address the emerging challenges of the Eurasian region. The Minister appreciated the participation and the overwhelming efforts of each of the Member States to enhance the cooperation among SCO Member States.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that SCO has emerged as a vital cog in transforming the multilateral cooperation in the Eurasian region in the past two decades of its existence, and India attaches special importance to SCO in harnessing this crucial cooperation in the region.
The Minister mentioned that SCO countries are exposed to identical challenges such as ensuring food, challenges emerging due to climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, affordable healthcare, environmental issues and energy access for its people. In order to resolve these challenges, it is imperative for us to join hands to innovate affordable scientific solutions, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the global scenario of the economy. Science and technology has played a greater role in global economic recovery. The SCO scientific community needs to cooperate in the field of technology-based solutions for social and economic challenges.
The Minister said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Govt. of India has focused on innovative interventions for affordable healthcare and by 2047, India aims to be one of the world’s top markets in medical devices. India is moving along the mantra emphasized upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan, and Jai Anusandhan,’ which essentially believes in coordination of various sectors to make India a global centre of research and innovation.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that during the last seven years, India’s expenditure of R&D has almost doubled. In this year’s budget, the Government has allocated about Rupees 16,360 Crore (US$ 2.20 billion) for the Ministry of Science and Technology. This apart, the Government of India has recently embarked upon the creation of a National Research Foundation (NRF) with substantial funding to promote translational and interdisciplinary research in addition to basic R&D activities.
Following consistent thrust towards research and innovation, India has climbed to 3rd position in scientific publication as per NSF database. During the last 8 years, the number of registered start-ups has grown from a mere 400 to an astounding 97,000. It has also reached 3rd Position in terms of number of PhDs, in size of Higher Education System; as well as in terms of number of Start-ups, the Minister said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Government of India, in the recent past, have launched several flagship initiatives such National Mission on Cyber Physical Systems; Quantum Computing; National Mission on Supercomputing, Deep Ocean Mission etc to build scientific leadership in the emerging areas of science.
The Minister reiterated that India’s commitment to environmental and climate issues remains steadfast. With the launching of the National Hydrogen Energy Mission and several such initiatives India is progressing ahead to meet its commitment at COP 26 of achieving net zero emissions by 2070 and fulfilling 50 per cent of energy requirements by utilising renewable energy by 2030.
Dr Jitendra Singh expressed the Government of India’s commitment to work closely in all three dimensions–Science, Technology and Innovation in a balanced and integrated manner. All our citizens, in all parts of respective territories, deserve to fully enjoy the benefits of Science, he said.
The Minister underlined the importance of the implementation of S&T mechanism of Science and Technology for sustainable development and improving the quality of life of the people and for reinforced efforts for its effective implementation.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that India has always expressed a deep desire to strengthen cooperation within SCO counties in this key sphere of Science, Technology and Innovation which directly impacts the welfare and progress of all our peoples.
The Minister concluded by saying that India whole-heartedly appreciates the participation and the overwhelming efforts of each of the Member States to enhance the cooperation among SCO Member States. He said that India would support SCO efforts in developing innovative and inclusive solutions to promote sustainable development within the Eurasian region. India looks forward to working closely with all the Member States to reach a consensus on these initiatives.
It is pertinent to mention that the SCO has emerged as a key regional organization in the Eurasian space in the past two decades of its existence, and India attaches special importance to SCO in promoting multilateral cooperation in the region. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation consists of approximately 42% of the world’s population, 22% of its land area, and contributes 20% to the global GDP.