First Conference on Science and Technology Policy: Future Challenges in the Context of Globalization
Chandigarh, March 07-10, 2005
Under the auspices of Regional Council for Science Technology and Development and Co-sponsored by UNESCO; Indo-US S&T Forum; CSIR; Department of Science and Technology; Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of IndiaBackground
Recommendations and proceedings
In the four days deliberations, scientists, science policy scholars, government officials and Parliamentarians around the globe participated and discussed cooperation in the area of science policy to face future challenges in this new era of globalization. The participants recognized the need of closer cooperation between parliamentarians and policy makers, scientists, industry (public and private) and the media at all levels from the sub-national to International.Following suggestions were made:
- Exchanging experiences of, and information on, technology and innovation policy-making.
- Supporting the strengthening of the Parliamentary Science Committees in active democracies, in part by drawing on best practice from national and regional Parliamentary Organizations that have a significant operational experience.
- Strengthening partnerships between legislatures, scientists, the media, public and private sectors in developing National Innovation Systems.
The first meeting of the Forum could be organized in India early 2006; a provisional Secretariat is to be established in India to organize the first meeting in cooperation with UNESCO and other international organizations. A permanent Secretariat would then be established and may rotate among the countries of the sub-region. The Forum could convene regularly also by maintaining a continual activity through newsletters, websites, regional workshops, etc.
There is also a need to have a common Science and Technology Policy for the States in North West Region of India, covering Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The conference recommended to the respective State Governments to cooperate and evolve a policy, particularly oriented in promoting industrial and agriculture development in the region, with due regards to environmental protection and tapping energy resources.
Proceedings of the conference
A. Inaugural Session
The conference was inaugurated by Shri Kapil Sibal, Honorable, Minister of State for Science and Technology, Government of India and Chaired by Dr A R Kidwai, Honorable, Governor of Haryana, Keynote address given by Dr R A Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR and Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India, The meeting was addressed by Shri P G Narayanan, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, India; Mrs Paula Tiihonen, Chairman, Committee on Future, Finland, Dr Mohsen Twafik, Director, UNESCO Regional office, New Delhi, Dr Mustafa El-Tayeb, Director, Science Policy Division, UNESCO, Paris Office, Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director General, CRRID, Chandigarh and vote of thanks given by Professor Rajesh Kochhar, Director, NISTADS, New Delhi.
Shri Kapil Sibal in his inaugural address stressed the need to devise new technologies to meet challenges in health sector as the developed countries would not invest to tackle diseases like Malaria and tuberculosis, which were the diseases prevalent in the third world countries. Calling for large investment in the field of biotechnology to meet future requirements. Shri Sibal also emphasized the need for using modern technology for development purposes. Stating that challenges are huge and cannot be met overnight, he said India is also willing to collaborate with other countries on various matters but on equal terms. He added India now had the capability and the stature to set the agenda in this regard.
Dr A R Kidwai in his address stated that pharmaceutical processes are outsourced in India. He stressed the need to strengthen indigenous research and development. Pointing out that 35 percent of the automobile components produced in India were now exported. He has also stressed the need of increasing India's human resources development and other industrial development activities so as to make India more attractive to foreign investors.
Dr R. A. Mahelkar spoke about the exciting paradigm shift in the dynamics of human capital in the world and India's relative positioning in such scenario. "These are very exciting times for Science in India and with a 37% rise in budget allocated to Scientific Research this year, the highest ever in the post independence India we are going places" Mashelkar added. Mapping India's tremendous growth and potential in the field of R&D, he added that in the last five to six years, more than 150 international companies have set up their R&D labs in the country and that India's current share of intellectual capital is the highest in the world at present at 31.7 percent. The focus though has to be on improving the 2 percent productivity of this share out of the total intellectual productivity of the world Mashelkar added.
One of the important features of the conference was special interactive session of Parliamentarians and scientists participating in the conference. This session was chaired by Shri PG Naryanan, Member of Parliament, India and addressed by Shri Saifuddin Soz, Member of Parliament, India, Shri Nurul Islam Moni, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh and Shri Pawan Bansal, Member of Parliament, India, Mrs Paola Tiihonen, Chairman, Committee for Future, Finland and Dr A R Kidwai, Governor of Haryana. Dr Mustafa El Tayeb emphasized the importance of international cooperation in science and technology and the steps taken by UNESCO to promote such cooperation. The introductory remark and objectives of the conference were given by Dr Mohsin U Khan, Scientist, NISTADS and Convener of the conference. The concluding remark was given by Dr R A Mashelkar, DG, CSIR, New Delhi
B. Technical Sessions
The conference had following technical sessions during four days of deliberations, March 7-10, 2005 in the following themes and sub-themes:
1. Drugs and Pharmaceutical Industry: Policy Issues
2. Herbal Drugs and Pharmaceutical Development in India
3. Agriculture, Biotechnology and Ethical Issues
4. Environmental Policy Issues
5. Information Technology and Knowledge Management
6. Science and Technology Policy
- Technology Transfer
- Organization and Management of R&D
- Technology policy
- R&D and Globalization
- FDI in India
1. Drugs and Pharmaceutical Industry: Policy Issues
Policy Issues Policy issues with regard to drugs and pharmaceutical industry were discussed at length. It was informed that Indian drugs and pharma industry may capture 30% of the world market by 2007 provided various elements of drugs and pharma industry policies implemented by the government. India is emerging as a hub for testing and evaluating new drugs because of availability of highly skilled scientific and technical manpower to carry out testing of drugs on animal tissues as well as clinical trials along with the metabolic studies.
Large numbers of patients are available in India who suffer from variety of diseases including acute cases. Clinical trials of drugs can be carried out in different parts of the country at a time. Hence evaluation of drugs can be completed in much lesser time. With this view a large number of American and European Companies are outsourcing the development of drugs in India to reputed institutions.The cost of production of generic drugs in bulk and their conversion into pharmaceuticals is being done at a very low cost. Therefore cost of production in India is very low about 1/10 of what it cost in Europe and America. Thus in the global market India is likely to emerge as a leading producer of drugs.
The Government of India is responding to the Indian drug/pharma sector proactively since 1991 after liberalization of its economy. Indian Pharma sector is open for 100% FDI, eligible for tax exemptions for R&D expenditure up to 150% and tax holiday up-to 10 years. A R&D promotional fund of Rs 150 crore has recently been set up as a corpus by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The Government has tighten regulations to deal firmly with spurious drug manufacturers and is taking measures to make GMP compliance mandatory for Indian companies in post 2005 period. There is a need for more rational Drug Price control (DPC) policy to facilitate overseas companies to launch a wider range of potential products into Indian Pharma market. Appropriate policy measures including legislations is necessary to a) promote more branded drugs entry into India Over the Counter (OTC) segment b) allow concurrent phase clinical trials and c) provide incentives to Indian companies to engage in overseas acquisitions.
Concurrent with industrial and economic polices, a well conceived S&T policy framework is needed for Indian drugs/pharma sector to achieve a focused growth covering:
- Discovery of R&D based new chemical entities or formulations derived from Indian natural products.
- Creating world class multi-central facilities for in vivo screening, pre-clinical pharmacology, toxicology, animal/human pharmaco kinetics and metabolic studies, clinical investigations in globally and rationally relevant therapeutic areas.
- Enhancing process discovery strengths to establish generic as a major Indian growth driver for bulk drug sector.
- Achieving balanced technological growth of pharma, informatics, biotechnology and process equipments/devices segment.
- Establishing new facilities and capabilities in the area of pharma technology incubation through public private partnership.
Central Drugs Research Institute (CDRI) at Lucknow has all the facilities of a drug manufacture organization under one roof-unique in the world.
At present CDRI has following R&D programs:
Reproductive health drugs
Life/Style aging drugs
Global licensing opportunities for diabetes, etc..
CDRI has developed and tested popular drugs which are marketed and exported. It has over 7650 patents and 8500 research paper to her credit. CDRI is willing to collaborate with any interested individual/institution in India as well as abroad. It has developed products that are undergoing various phases of testing by a number of companies for production and licensing, some are drugs compound for malaria testing
2. Herbal Drugs and Pharmaceutical Development in India
The theme of this session was to examine the status of indigenous drugs in India. Presentations were made on plants based drugs and how they were useful in treating diseases for which effective remedies were not available, for example tropical diseases, viral infections, cancer and bronchial diseases.
It was also pointed out that botanical or herbal drugs will be in great demand in future and India has special circumstances to be the leader in production and sale of these botanical drugs. India has rich flora and fauna with considerable clinical experience of the medicinal plants by the traditional practice of medicine of Ayuverda, Siddha and Unani, therefore clinical evaluation of these drugs can provide many herbal drugs.
Other presentations dealt with Unani and Ayurvedic drugs. Main issues raised included: Standardization of these traditional drugs, clinical trials, the use of biocatalysts in improving these facilities, networking for drugs development, marketing issues and future potential for their use in competition with western drugs both in India and abroad.
3. Agriculture, biotechnology and Ethical Issues
The session started with a proposal to set up National Institute of Biotechnology (NBT) by Punjab Government. The idea behind establishing this institute is to enhance agriculture production in Punjab. Biotechnology can play a major role in the crop improvement, post harvest value addition, diversification of cash crops, organic agriculture promotion etc. It was felt that upcoming Biotechnology Institute will attract high caliber scientific talent in Punjab, overcome challenges of cutting edge technology, tap commercial potential in biotechnology sector and promote industry that in turn generate employment for countries youth folk.
Next presentation was on Indian Agriculture Policy and Biotechnology Frontiers. The speaker stressed the need on reforms by removing barriers on alluring force of exchange of information and technology, structural adjustments fair and open judicial control. It was felt that policy approach being followed by India is still pro-rich while majority of Indian farmers are poor. The speaker highlighted the upcoming areas of new molecular biology along with the significance of establishing individual genetic differences in order to make custom made drugs suited to different kinds of people. The speaker further discussed areas in agriculture where biotechnology can play a major role along with the establishment of first agri-export zone for basmati rice in Punjab and enumerated other such zones i.e for Apples in Himachal, Mangoes in Andhra Pradesh and Flowers in Tamil Nadu. The speaker showed a lot of interest in Indo-US cooperation in different areas of biotechnology including planning for genetically modified oilseeds to overcome shortage edible oils. Finally the speaker stressed the need for establishing South Asian Science and Technology Policy Forum that could focus on Biotechnology, marketing strategies to meet the needs of the people living below poverty line.
The other interesting presentation was on Biotechnology in search of self: Consciousness to be the Mentor. The speaker tried to explore entire journey of biotechnology applications on the earth along with its serious limitations. He also showed a two minutes film about DNA double helix structure and its manipulation along with excellent explanation of the same.
Ethnical issues and biotechnology was the focus of next presentation. The speaker began with definition of Ethics given by famous Philosopher Dieter Mitez. He elaborated at length on four ethical stresses, the genetic manipulations, embryonic stem cell research and transgenics and their commercial exploitation. Finally the speaker gave an in-depth analysis of conflicts, which happen among several stakeholders in the business of biotechnology applications.
The title of the next presentation was "Selected natural modifications using biocatalyst". The speaker explained in detail about the vast potentialities of microbial world in modifying natural products within their sensitive functionalities, so far the potentialities of doing same have been assessed only for 5% microbial world, while 95% microbial world remains completely un-assessed and unexplored about their vast potentialities. The speaker has given an in-depth analysis of Neem chemicals, ie Salanin, Melicine, Azardirchtin etc and chemical process involved in their conversion to more stable & usable form, especially bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides. The speaker further explained the chemical modifications of uric acid to more usable forms. Finally he emphasized about the great potentialities of micro-organisms in the natural/chemical modifications of natural products to more stable and usable form to making sustainable agriculture a reality.
Next presentation was on modernization of agro-based industry. The speaker has given an in-depth analysis of capabilities that exist in instrumentation used in the agro-industries. He stressed the need of automation required for few selected agro-based industries such as sugar industry and tea industry and also development of appropriate instrumentation for the modernization of agro-based sector as a whole. The speaker has shown the functioning of few instruments such as soil salinity meter, digital central grain analyzer. He concluded with explanation of few block diagrams of automation of sugar and tea industry.
4. Environmental Policy Issues
The first presentation was on "Using Untapped Resources to Meet Globalization Challenges". The speaker elucidated in detail about impact of urbanization on infrastructure, socio-economic fabric and environment along with a comparative study of decadal rural and urban population growth trend across the globe. The speaker discussed in detail about urban population trend>10 million, ranking of different urban centers, the future urban growth projections especially for India. Environmental issues arising out of growing urbanization are water supply, sanitation and public health, waste management treatments and open land storage. The speaker suggested the need of effective management policies for these issues. While discussing solutions and strategies for several environmental problems, especially waste management, suggestions for no waste water generation no open dumping, utilization of garbage to generate energy sewage sludge treatment were given. After offering conceptual backgrounds of solutions and strategies several case studies related with environmental issues raised were discussed. The speaker while giving his concluding remark said that growing urbanization is here to stay which will have several adverse effects on environment, therefore there is an urgent need to opt for creative, innovative and sustainable solutions and strategies, especially for poor countries like India.
The next presentation was on Elite Compost -A tool to transform waste into wealth. The speaker discussed in detail about organic fertilizers elite compost technique for creating wealth out of waste, especially from agriculture waste along with technological details associated with elite compost and its comparison with chemical fertilizer nutrient status and its chemical properties. He stressed the need for going to organic fertilizers like elite compost for realizing the sustainable agriculture. The speaker explained about the physiological impacts of elite compost on several crops by giving specific examples of several vegetables and fruits such as pumpkin, cucumber, strawberries etc. Elite compost can only give right kind of nutrients supply to soils and crop. Its cost is 15% less than all existing chemical fertilizers in Indian market or anywhere else in the world. In another presentation the speaker talked about the appropriateness of low cost sewage management in rural areas. Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) has developed Madhopur technology, a small bore sized, sewage technology which is being demonstrated in three villages in Punjab on pilot scale basis. Speaker explained sewage/sludge water treatment for demonstrated restoration of villages ponds. Technologies involved are constructed in wetland, duckweed integrated with pissi-culture which is self sustaining one. Modhopur technology is highly cost effective in comparison with existing conventional sewage system. Moreover, its operation and management practices are very simple and can be very easily handled by village panchayats and communities. It is really an appropriate and sustainable technology for efficient sewage management in rural areas. Finally the speaker explained about production of organic manure from Madhopur technology and its financial benefits to rural communities, besides control and prevention of pollution control.
Presentation was made on hazardous chemicals governance in India concerning issues and options. The speaker has given a brief account of entire legislative framework of India at different levels of governance for implementing the emergency plans along with international conventions like Basel Convention, 1989, Chemical Weapons Conventions, 1993, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, 2001, Rotterdam Convention, 1999. Finally the speaker deliberated on existing and upcoming issues and options for the successful practical implementation of Indian legislations and international conventions related with hazardous chemicals, especially safe substitution, research and development, enforcement, development of appropriate inventories, abandoned stockpiles (information gaps due to leaks and poor leveling), poor knowledge base of chemical industries inspectors, appropriate know-how of risk assessment regarding chemicals, evaluation of on and off site emergency plans etc
5. Information Technology and Knowledge Management
First presentation of this session was on IT and rural society: A critical societal view from development planning point of view in the context of Mewat region of District Gurgaon in Haryana. The speaker briefly described digital Village Information System (VIS) developed for Mewat region. The purpose of VIS was to modernize food production to increase its productivity, planning health treatment facilities and many other socio-economic objectives. VIS technology has been disseminated rapidly in the Mewat region.
The other interesting presentation was on Bio-molecular and Nano-technology challenges. The speaker gave an enthusiastic vision of opportunities of "bio-molecular electronics" replacing silicons based microprocessors as information transmitter and management, because human brain is the most advanced computer. A lot of challenging questions arise, for example, whether new technology will replace human brain. In the bio-molecular electronics a lot of technological solutions are in the process of development like micro-diagnostics. The supremacy of DNA based computers seems obvious as compared to limits of semiconductors, like multifold nano-scale capacity etc. The applications of new technology are practically boundless in health care, business etc.
The next presentation was on Aging, information society and era of high economic and thereafter. The speaker presented facts about aging of Japanese population. The share of aging people of today's 121 million is nearly 20% and the prognosis for 2050 is over 30% which means heavy burden to the social security system and is also a big challenge to have adequate labor force. The speaker analyzed the background of aging phenomenon and related economic development of Japan since the 1980s till today. The speaker considered immigration as one possible solution to sole aging problem as well larger participation of women in labor market and society.
Another presentation on eGovernance in Chandigarh Administraton, called Sampark provides services to Chandigarh citizens on one window.
6. Science Technology Transfer
- Technology Transfer
Discussion was initiated with a historical perspective to technology development. After years of colonial domination, India emerged with a concern for becoming self-reliant but undue emphasis on this led to an acceptance of inferior technological alternates reinvention of the wheel increased protectionism, all of which kept us away from technological leadership. There is now realization that we have to acquire latest technologies from outside, then modify innovate and transfer them to Indian companies so that the deficit in public, private and global goods be addressed, productivity can be improved and country's problems may obtain scientific solutions.
However, technological transfer is ripe with problems, while we need to accept that companies selling technology would be looking for profit, we need to ensure that the technology procured meets society's needs. Balancing the two presents many challenges. The first presentation focused on the challenges to a fair assessment a valuation of the technology being procured. He listed many factors that could determine the valuation of technology and therefore its price. Should the pricing be left to the market forces or be regulated by the government? How to assure that the assessment/regulation process is quick while also being accurate. There were some questions posed.
The next presentation focused on the challenges in building collaborative links between universities/R&D laboratories on one side and industry on the other, to facilitate transfer of technology. The speaker reviewed the issue from the perspective of the universities. The main challenges of making collaborations between universities and industrial units work arose from differences in their culture, organization and objectiv. The issue raised was why universities in India have not been able to play the role as collaboration in technology transfer to industry. Perspectives of other countries on the issue were also brought in.
Very apparently the third presentation pointed to the facilitating role that a good organization could play in bringing about collaboration between customers (industrial units) and the technology developers.
The speaker talked about TIFAC, which had played a facilitator role in diffusing technologies to companies who could use their technologies to deal with the real problems they face. Many examples of success were shared.
The session concluded with a presentation on thought leadership which illustrated the importance of leadership in making collaborations happen in making continuous learning happen in the collaboration while focusing also on improvements in efficiency and effectiveness of the collaboration.
- Organization and Management of R&D
First presentation was on High Quality Research in Public funded R&D. To be competitive, industry increasingly feels the need to develop more appropriate and cheaper new products. Product and process innovations are therefore key. To achieve this, there is growing realization that R&D is critical.
Many organizations would like to source new product/process innovations from publicly funded R&D organizations. One major reason is the relatively high tangible and intangible costs of running a lab.
Publicly funded R&D labs have an incentive to respond to these requirements. Since liberalization the government has expected the labs to generate a significant proportion of their financial requirements from external sources.
Some R&D labs are in a better position to respond to industry requirements than others. One major reason for this is that they have a better base of quality research. What facilitated such high quality research? The speaker argued that the culture existing in the lab can facilitate or inhibit the occurrence of high quality research.
The second presentation was on 'Future Challenges for R&D in Sri Lanka'. The speaker informed that Sri Lanka has a small scientific base with the R&D expenditure being 2% of GDP (1996-2000).
The third presentation was on 'Features of Inputs and Returns for China's Hi Tech Industry'. The speaker explores the impact of China's high tech industry on economic growth and it causes divides in five parts: analysis framework; features of Chinese hi tech industry, impact of Chinese high tech industry on economic growth, cause analysis and policy recommendations.
Fourth presentation is a 'Scientometric Profile of Indian Science as seen through Science Citation Index'. An analysis of 11067 papers published by Indian scientists and indexed by Science Citation Index (SCI) CD-ROM for the year 1997 indicates that academic institutions and Government departments are the major contributors to the publication output.
- Technology policy
The first presentation was on "Techno-economic Globalization". The speaker talked in context of globalization and problems related to science and technology. Power shift is taking place, in nations. The center of planning has decentralize in India in recent years and the speaker sees it as positive. The author doesn't think about self-reliance but link it to global self-reliance (ie share of global resources). Problems of the environment, poverty and disease are also global. SMOG on the streets of Delhi is a problem for local and national government in India and not to be blamed elsewhere. The author talked about the Indian potential which has long tradition of planned development for S&T, which has laid foundation for scientists to use the infrastructure now. India has enormous human and natural resources. The author raises some key questions in his presentation: 1) Is India becoming too independent on global S&T System: So what is the role of National Innovation System? India is not yet an equal pa rtner with other countries on global level. Redistribution of technological capital is needed. The author likes to see rural and urban poverty. Draws analogy with rural India in China, which is different to modern industrial areas. The author says he would not like to see this to happen in India. Raising the standard of human capital is important to India (No one seems to have mentioned the problem of population growth in India?) How do we educate millions of people who are not computer literate, probably idea of using internet in rural areas could be built into system to educate a lot of people rapidly that will take big investment of technology. Slums and shanty towns: Make a goal to remove all these slums by year 2020. Cultural transformation: There is a culture of hypocrites, beauracracy, exclusions, etc For a great country like India these things need to be removed.
The second presentation was on "Managing R&D on tax intensive result organization" on 'Triple Helix Model' Early building blocks of S&T central society. We had this 3000 years back. India is the first country in the world to have a Ministry of Science and Technology in the early 1950s. There was a huge expansion of national laboratories and the Scientific Policy Resolution of 1958 and Technology Policy Statement of 1983. India has a rich scientific culture (atomic energy, space etc). Technology base today: More than 300 universities and 1200 R &D units. Many MNCs have opened R&D labs in India
The next presentation was on "National Science and Technology Policy of Bangladesh. The speaker presented the S&T Policy of Bangladesh announced in 1986 explained its aims and strategies and of the opinion that we cannot recognize our talent but it is recognized only when they go abroad. The speaker emphasized need for strengthen of cooperation in S&T between developed and developing countries. It was said that Bangladesh seeks help for education sponsorship from external countries like for example India. Most important is strengthening the linkages between the political and scientific/technological system. The politicians nee better understanding of the needs of Science and Technology.
- R&D and Globalization
The first presentation was on Internationalization of R&D: From a small developed open economy ie Finland. The speaker discussed the challenges imposed by the current trends of R&D globalization for National Innovation Policy in Finland. As enterprise internationalize their activities, especially R&D, global mobility of scientists and their expertise expands independently of their locations. The ongoing phase of globalization of R&D sector in science and technology has created several opportunities for developing economies such as India and China. The speaker further deliberated about approaches followed by Finish enterprises and their outcome in globalizing their R&D products.
- FDI in India
The speaker has given overall view of foreign investment in India. He has narrated the salient features of Indian FDI policy and procedures. He informed that cumulative FDI flow since August 1991: US $ 31.87 billion, excluding ADR/GDR. Top ten investing countries are Mauritius. Japan, United Kingdom. Netherlands, Germany, France, Republic of Korea and Switzerland.
For promoting technological capabilities in Indian industry, acquisition of foreign technology is encouraged through foreign technology collaboration agreements. Induction of know-how through such agreements are permitted either through automatic route or with prior approval from the government.
Government has delegated powers to Reserve Bank of India to allow payment for foreign technology collaboration by Indian companies under automatic route subject to following limits:
- The lump sum payments not exceeding US $ 2 million
- Royalty payment being limited to 5 percent for domestic sale and 8 percent for exports.
FDI policy is reviewed on an ongoing basis and measure for its further liberalization are taken. Change in sectoral policy/sectoral equity cap is notified from time to time through Press Notes by the Secretariat fro Industrial Assistance (SIA) in the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion. Policy announcement by SIA are subsequently notified by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under Foreign Exchange Management Act. (FEMA)
C. Concluding Session
In the concluding session Dr Mohsin U Khan summed up the proceedings of the conference. Dr Mustafa El-Tayeb expressed satisfaction on the success of the conference and assured full UNESCO support in the promotion South Asia Science and Technology Policy Forum. A large number of participants expressed their views on the importance of promotion of science and technology for removal of poverty and sustainable development Dr A R Kidwai in his remarks expressed his gratitude on the success of the conference. He thanks Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director General CRRID for his cooperation in provising logistic support to the organization of the conference. He specifically mentioned and place on record his appreciation of the efforts made by Dr Mohsin U Khan, convener in organizing this big event.