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General Studies 2 >> Governance

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1. Context

India barely spends 0.7 per cent of its GDP on research and development, which is extremely low compared to many other countries. The gross expenditure on R&D declined from 0.84 per cent in 2008 to about 0.69 per cent in 2018, the last year for which confirmed figures are available. 

2. About PM-STIAC

  • The Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) is an overarching council that advises the Prime Minister of India on science, technology, and innovation (STI) policy.
  • It was established in 2016 to provide strategic guidance on STI priorities, identify and address major challenges, and promote cross-sectoral collaboration.
  • The PM-STIAC is chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and has a membership of eminent scientists, technologists, and industry leaders.
  • The council meets regularly to discuss STI priorities, review progress on ongoing initiatives, and develop new strategies.
  • The PM-STIAC has identified nine national science missions that aim to address major scientific challenges to ensure India's sustainable development. These missions are:
  • Deep Ocean Mission
  • Natural Language Translation Mission
  • AI Mission
  • Quantum Frontier Mission
  • Clean Energy Mission
  • Climate Change Mission
  • Health Mission
  • Food Mission
  • Water Mission

The PM-STIAC is also working on several other initiatives, including:

  • Swachh Bharat Unnat Bharat Abhiyan: This initiative aims to leverage global technological capabilities to create socio-economic benefits for 1.3 billion Indians by addressing the issues of waste disposal, deteriorating air quality, and increasing pollution of water bodies.
  • Empowered Technology Group (ETG): This group is working to identify and address major technology challenges facing India.
  • National Research Foundation (NRF): This proposed foundation would be responsible for coordinating and funding research in India.
 3. Make in-India Programme
  • The Make in India programme is a national initiative launched by the Government of India in 2014 to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub.
  • The programme aims to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), foster innovation, enhance skill development, protect intellectual property, and build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure.
  • The Make in India programme has identified 25 focus sectors for investment, including automobiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles, and food processing.
  • The government has also taken several steps to make it easier for businesses to invest and operate in India, such as streamlining the regulatory environment, reducing bureaucracy, and offering tax incentives.
  • The Make in India programme has been successful in attracting significant FDI into India.
  • In the first five years of the programme, FDI inflows into India increased by over 50%.
  • The programme has also helped to create millions of new jobs in the manufacturing sector.

4. About the National Research Foundation

  • The National Research Foundation (NRF) is a proposed apex body under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.
  • It is intended to replace the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) and provide high-level strategic direction for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in India.
  • The NRF is expected to play a key role in shaping India's research and innovation landscape.
  • It will be responsible for developing and implementing a national research strategy, allocating funding to research institutions, and promoting collaboration between academia, industry, and government.
  • The NRF will also be responsible for developing a culture of innovation in India.
  • It will do this by supporting early-stage research, providing mentorship to researchers, and creating opportunities for researchers to commercialise their ideas.
  • The NRF is expected to have a significant impact on India's economic development.
  • By supporting research and innovation, the NRF will help to create new businesses, generate new jobs, and improve India's global competitiveness.
  • The NRF is still under development, but it has the potential to be a major force for good in India.
  • By providing strategic direction and funding for research, the NRF can help India become a global leader in science and technology.

5. The Way Forward

  • India has embarked on a journey to strengthen its position in science, technology, and innovation.
  • By addressing its R&D challenges, fostering collaboration, and effectively implementing its initiatives, India can position itself as a global leader in these critical areas, leading to economic growth, job creation, and improved quality of life for its citizens.

For Prelims: PM-STIAC, Science and technology, GDP, National Research Foundation, Science and Engineering Research Board, Deep Ocean Mission, Natural Language Translation Mission, AI Mission, Quantum Frontier Mission, Clean Energy Mission, Climate Change Mission, Health Mission, Food Mission, Water Mission, Swachh Bharat Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Empowered Technology Group
For Mains: 
1. Critically examine the role of the Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) in shaping India's research and innovation landscape to become a global leader in science and technology. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. With reference to India economy, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2015) 
1. The rate of growth of Real Gross Domestic Product has steadily increased in the last decade. 2. The Gross Domestic Product at market prices (in rupees) has steadily increased in the last decade.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only    B. 2 only        C. Both 1 and 2           D. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: B

2. If National Water Mission is properly and completely implemented, how will it impact the country? (UPSC 2012)

1. Part of the water needs of urban areas will be met through recycling of waste-water.
2. The water requirements of coastal cities with inadequate alternative sources of water will be met by adopting appropriate technologies that allow for the use of ocean water.
3. All the rivers of Himalayan origin will be linked to the rivers of peninsular India.
4. The expenses incurred by farmers for digging bore-wells and for installing motors and pumpsets to draw ground-water will be completely reimbursed by the Government.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. 1 only    B. 1 and 2 only          C. 3 and 4 only            D. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: B

3. Natural language processing (NLP) is a branch of artificial intelligence that helps computers ______ human language. (SSC CHSL 2023)
I. understand             
II. Interpret             
III. manipulate
A. I, II and III only       B.  I and III only           C.  I and II only         D.  II and III
Answer: A
4. With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (UPSC 2020) 
1. Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units.
2. Create meaningful short stories and songs.
3. Disease diagnosis.
4. Text-to-Speech Conversion.
5. Wireless transmission of electrical energy.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A. 1, 2, 3 and 5 only         B. 1, 3 and 4 only    C. 2, 4 and 5 only        D. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Answer: B
5. Direction: It consists of two statements, one labelled as ‘Statement
(I)’ and the others as ‘Statement(II)’. You are to examine these two statements carefully and select the answer using the codes given below: (UPSC ESE 2018)
Statement (I): Green energy refers to one which does not harm the ecosystem of planet earth. Statement (II): All renewable energy is green energy.
A. Both Statement (I) and Statement (II) individually true and Statement (II) is the correct explanation of Statement (I)
B. Both statement (I) and Statement (II) are individually true, but Statement (II) is not the correct explanation of Statement (I)
C. Statement (I) is true, but Statement (II) is false
D. Statement (I) is false, but Statement (II) is true
Answer: C
6. With reference to National Rural Health Mission, which of the following are the jobs of 'ASHA' a trained community health worker? (UPSC 2012)
1. Accompanying women to the health facility for antenatal care checkup
2. Using pregnancy test kits for early detection of pregnancy
3. Providing information on nutrition and immunization
4. Conducting the delivery of baby
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. 1, 2 and 3 only         B. 2 and 4 only         C. 1 and 3 only          D. 1, 2, 3 and 4
Answer: A 
7. With reference to Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)
1. Private and public hospitals must adopt it.
2. As it aims to achieve universal health coverage, every citizen of India should be part of it ultimately.
3. It has seamless portability across the country.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 and 2 only       B. 3 only          C. 1 and 3 only        D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: B
8. An objective of the National Food Security Mission is to increase the production of certain crops through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a sustainable manner in the identified districts of the country. What are those crops? (UPSC 2010)
A. Rice and wheat only
B. Rice, wheat and pulses only
C. Rice, wheat, pulses and oil seeds only
D. Rice, wheat , pulses, oil seeds and vegetables
Answer: B
9. The National Food Security Mission (NFSM) aims to enhance the production of : (HPPSC GS 2018)
(I) Pulses
(II) Vegetables
(III) Rice
(IV) Wheat
(V) Fruits
(VI) Coarse cereals
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. I, II, III and IV only                  B. I, III, IV and VI only
C. II, IV, V and VI only                 D. III, IV, V and VI only
Answer: B
10. Consider the following statements regarding Jal Jeevan Mission. (IB ACIO Grade II 2021)
1. It rains to provide piped drinking water to all rural households by 2024.
2. It aims to provide 25 litres of tapped water per person per day to all households by 2024.
3. Goa has become the first 'Har Ghar Jal State' to provide 100% household tap connections in rural areas.
4. The Jal Shakti Ministry is the nodal ministry for the implementation of the scheme.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. Only 1 and 2          B. Only 1, 2 and 3     C. Only 1, 3 and 4    D. Only 1 and 3
Answer: C
11. What is the aim of the programme 'Unnat Bharat Abhiyan'? (UPSC 2017)
A. Achieving 100% literacy by promoting collaboration between voluntary organizations and government's education system and local communities.
B. Connecting institutions of higher education with local communities to address development challenges through appropriate technologies.
C. Strengthening India's scientific research institutions in order to make India a scientific and technological power.
D. Developing human capital by allocating special funds for health care and education of rural and urban poor, and organizing skill development programmes and vocational training for them Answer: B
12. Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is related with: (NTPC 2021) 
A. Developing India by identifying and creating 'Smart Cities'
B. Developing rural India with the help of higher education institutions
C. Improving the living conditions by improving cleanliness and public sanitation
D. Making India a super power through investments in science and technology
Answer: B
13. Which of the following is/are the aim/aims of "Digital India" Plan of the Government of India? (UPSC 2018) 
1. Formation of India's own Internet companies like China did.
2. Establish a policy framework to encourage overseas multinational corporations that collect Big Data to build their large data centres within our national geographical boundaries.
3. Connect many of our villages to the Internet and bring Wi-Fi to many of our schools, public places and major tourist centres.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
A.1 and 2 only          B.  3 only        C. 2 and 3 only      D.  1, 2 and 3
Answer: B
Source: PIB & Invest India

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