Policy Thrust on Scientific Solutions for boosting Rural Economy is the need of the hour – Kulpati Prof PB Sharma
At a time when the trials of Corona pandemic are continuing and the fear of its derivatives is looming large, the Science and Technology community in India and around the globe is well advised to focus on an integrative approach to cultivation of science and interdisciplinary engineering to develop technologies to take mega challenges such as Climate Change, securing Water and Energy Security and cause a major upsurge of high-tech rural technologies to significantly boost farmers income and the national economy of a predominantly rural country like India where much of the Bharat resides says Kulpati Prof PB Sharma an eminent academician who is past President of Association of Indian Universities, AIU and currently Vice-Chancellor of Amity University Gurugram.
The memories of the horror of the Corona pandemic that forced migrant workers to lose their jobs and walk barefoot hundreds of miles to their native habitat in rural India are still afresh in the minds of all of us. It was thought that we shall, in our developmental plans cause a major departure in our approach to developing India of 135 crores plus population and devise policies, mechanisms, and systems to attract the educated tech-savvy youth to turn to their roots in rural India.
They were also expected to make the Digital Transformation deeply penetrate in the rural areas to help create a robust rural high tech economy that shall help achieve the goal of inclusiveness and create millions of jobs in rural India from where earlier the workers were forced to migrate to megacities to build modern India of the post-Independent era.
It is heartening that the Govt of India has recently come out with a policy framework of the National Biotechnology Strategy that shall cause the much-needed departure in our approach to achieve the noble objective of inclusive development.
The National Biotechnology Development Strategy recently launched by Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Verdhan at the recently concluded CII Global Biotech Conclave clearly emphasized its thrust on “Taking Science to Society – Empowering the Rural Sector” among other key initiatives to harness the great potential of modern biotechnology advances to Nation building and global leadership in areas of major strength in biotechnology research and innovation in India.
The policy document articulates that ‘Under the overarching umbrella of Scientific Social Responsibility, Scientific Solutions need to percolate down to the grass-root level to have a wider societal impact and ensure Ease of Living of the Citizens. This will bring biotechnology closer to fulfilling societal needs and in the long run will contribute to building public confidence in scientific solutions. Creating employment opportunities through biotech-led micro-enterprises, wealth creation, and ensuring local resources’ sustainability are some of the myriad ways biotechnology can interface with society”.
The policy document further emphasizes the urgent need to “Establish Biotech Innovation Hubs for societal development, promote Rural Bio-entrepreneurship and upscaling of grass-root innovations through the demonstration of viable and ecologically compatible technologies to the target groups for adoption in a holistic and sustainable manner”.
In addition, the focus of the policy is also on promoting ‘Scientist-Farmer Partnership for agriculture innovation through participatory research to connect science laboratories with the farmers to find innovative solutions and technologies to be developed and applied at the farm level”.
The government policy has come at a highly opportune time when we are in search of creating a robust rural economy that shall significantly boost the farmers’ income and make India lead the world in *Rural Biotech Research and Innovations* to take the mega challenges of food security, clean environment and climate change head on.
But to succeed in effectively implementing the National Biotechnology Strategy it would be highly desirable to cause radical departure to the way R&D is carried out in areas such as Biotechnology, Info technology, Nanotechnology, Lifesciences, and Environment Technologies.
It requires an integrative approach to bio info nanosciences in an environment of interdisciplinary science and technology for new product development and implementable scientific solutions for Agritech, Foodtech, and Bioenergy technologies that together shall cause a major upsurge in grassroots high-tech rural entrepreneurship.
The leaders of farmers’ agitation need to understand that for a long time we all were in search of scientific solutions for significantly boosting farmers’ income and to rebuild rural India of our dream as a vibrant economic entity and a major partner in national development strategy. The Annadata, the farmers of India are now poised for a major gain from National Biotech Strategy that provides a sound scientific basis for rural development under the go rural high tech impetus under the new policy framework for development.
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