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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 11 July 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 11 July 2023


Contents

  1. Energising India’s Scientific Research: The NRF’s Role
  2. Jammu and Kashmir’s Militancy Resurge: Concerns and Solutions

Energising India’s Scientific Research: The NRF’s Role


Context

  • A draught law to create the National Research Foundation (NRF) in India has been approved by the Union Cabinet. The NRF promotes and guides multidisciplinary research with the goal of accelerating India’s development agenda. It will take the position of the Science and Engineering Research Board of India (SERB) and concentrate on the generation and application of useful information.
  • The science, technology, and education ministries will serve as ex-officio vice presidents of the NRF, which will be led by the prime minister. The NRF’s 18-member board, which is made up of distinguished scientists, senior government officials, and business executives, will manage ten primary directorates that each specialise on a different discipline.

Relevance: 

GS Paper 3 : Science & Technology

Mains Question

Compare and contrast India’s funding for research and development (R&D) with that of other nations. What reasons result in India spending less on research and development? (250 Words)


How does India compare to other nations in terms of performance?

  • Compared to the wealthy nations and rising economic powers of East Asia, India spends very little (just 0.66% of GDP). In fact, India spends less on R&D than Low and Middle Income Countries.
  • Defense-related R&D is typically carried out by the private sector in most industrialised capitalist nations. This expense is primarily covered by public funds in India.
  • In wealthy nations compared to India, joint public-private research collaborations are far larger in scope and quantity.

Government initiatives to increase R&D:

  • The National Research Foundation (NRF) should be established, as suggested by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, to provide funding for peer-reviewed, competitive research proposals from universities and higher education institutions.
  • IMPRINT initiative: The IITs and IISc collaborated to develop the IMPacting Research, Innovation, and Technology (IMPRINT) scheme in 2015. In ten chosen technology domains, it focuses on finding answers to engineering problems.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs were created as part of the Atal Innovation Mission to encourage students’ creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities. These labs foster creativity and a design-oriented approach.
  • Laws governing intellectual property rights (IPR): India has passed IPR legislation to safeguard and advance intellectual property. It has policies in place to protect IPR and is a signatory to the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The R&D sector is hampered by the following:

  • Inadequate Funding: Less than 1% of India’s GDP is allocated to R&D, which makes it difficult to carry out research projects.
  • Delayed Disbursal: Despite projected allocations, money for R&D projects have not been disbursed on time, which has hampered their implementation and progress.
  • Dependence on Grants: Since many universities rely on outside funding from government organisations, their research suffers as a result of insufficient financial support.
  • Skilled staff deficit: The absence of knowledge in developing fields and the brain drain of talented people abroad are factors in the skilled staff deficit in R&D.
  • IPR Violation: Infringements on intellectual property rights stifle creativity and prevent the development of original, creative solutions.
  • Outdated Curriculum and Pedagogy: The advancement of R&D capabilities is hampered by outdated educational curriculum and instructional strategies that place a higher priority on rote learning than on research.
  • Fiscal Deficit: Because the emphasis is frequently on lowering the deficit, 9% of fiscal deficits restrict the transfer of funding to the R&D industry.
  • Limited Private Sector Participation: When compared to industrialised nations, India’s private sector commitment to R&D expenditures (33% share) is very low, which has an impact on the overall investment in research.

Steps to boost R&D:

  • Increase budgetary allocation: The Economic Survey 2020–21 recommends allocating 2% of GDP to R&D, which can provide the resources required for research activities.
  • Encourage Collaboration: By fostering collaboration between government organisations, start-ups, and businesses, collaborative R&D projects can take advantage of resources and skills.
  • Use NRF Funding: To provide adequate support for research, grant deficiencies in independent universities and institutes can be addressed with the money pledged to the NRF.
  • Enhance Information Sharing: Creating a virtual platform to share data on initiatives with public funding helps improve communication and knowledge sharing.
  • Improve Training Opportunities: Giving doctorate and postdoctoral students the chance to learn in renowned international labs helps improve research capacity. Young scientists can also be kept on in India by encouraging post-doctoral work.
  • Boost Investor Confidence and Attract More Investment in R&D: Adhering to the National IPR policy and upholding IPR regulations can strengthen IPR protection.
  • Encourage Government-Industry-Academia Partnerships: By encouraging cooperation between the government, business, and academia, one may create an environment that is favourable for R&D across a range of industries.

How Important NRF Is:

  • The NRF intends to close this gap and elevate Indian science to a position of worldwide superiority. India has lagged behind nations like the US, UK, Japan, China, and South Korea in terms of research spending, researchers per million people, publications, and patents. It will boost the nation’s overall research ecosystem and give priority to fields important to the country’s development.
  • The need to cross disciplinary barriers and advance solutions to difficult problems that are evidence-based, contextually relevant, and culturally acceptable is what led to the creation of the NRF.
  • The potential for transdisciplinary research in India has been severely constrained by siloed methodologies and discipline-specific funding mechanisms.
  • By encouraging and funding interdisciplinary research, which is currently underfunded, the NRF hopes to change this. Public health, social and behavioural sciences, management, digital technology, health economics, and biomedical sciences must work together, for instance, to reform primary healthcare. The NRF will offer the tools and authority required to make such research possible.

Multi-Institutional Collaboration and Implementation:

  • The NRF should support both investigator-initiated collaborative research and task force-commissioned research to address India’s development priorities.
  • Young scientists from several fields should collaborate on problem-solving research early in their scientific careers to promote multidisciplinary research.
  • Students in their undergraduate and graduate programmes can be encouraged to work together on research projects and take part in interdisciplinary seminars. Additionally, current government research organisations ought to support the NRF’s mission and add to the body of information it taps.

Engaging Stakeholders:

  • The private sector is viewed as a key partner, contributing both untied funds and project-specific sponsorship to support the NRF’s initiatives.
  • State government’s and local institutions’ involvement is crucial to enhancing India’s research capacity and conducting locally relevant scientific research.
  • Community participation is essential to the NRF’s success.

Conclusion

The National Research Foundation (NRF) was established in India, which is a key step in reviving scientific inquiry and advancing the nation’s development agenda. The interdisciplinary approach, stakeholder participation, and emphasis on research relevance used by the NRF will help handle difficult problems and fill the gaps in India’s research ecosystem. The NRF can advance science in India and establish it as a world leader in research and innovation by encouraging multidisciplinary study and multisectoral application.


Jammu and Kashmir’s Militancy Resurge: Concerns and Solutions


Context

A revival in militancy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri-Poonch region has prompted worries about the security situation.

Relevance: 

GS Paper 3: security – militancy

Mains Question

Describe militancy. analysis of the fundamental causes of the increase in militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. What actions has the government done to deal with militancy? (150 Words)


Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir

  • Militancy is the use of force or aggression, typically in support of a cause.
    • As shown in Kashmir, societies experiencing war tend to cement the separation between “Us” and “Them.”
  • The Kashmiris have become more hostile to Indian politics as a result of the 1989 separatist uprising and following government operations.
    • The state’s responses include repression, arrests, the execution of local militants, and the enforcement of laws like the AFSPA and PSA.
  • The Kashmiris have fostered unfavourable notions of India as a “coloniser” or “occupier.”

Government measures

  • Crackdowns, arrests, and targeted killings of local militants are examples of government action.
  • The application of laws like PSA and AFSPA.
  • The reinforcement of unfavourable perceptions.
  • Perception of the Indian state as an occupier or coloniser.

Newly developed events

  • Local militancy and stone-pelting events have increased in the area between 2014 and 2020. The Indian military responded by launching “Operation All Out” in 2017 to destroy militant networks and key commanders. But because the majority of the militants were locals, these operations just widened the ‘we vs. them’ gap.
  • Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked in 2019, which sparked worries of an uptick in terrorism-related bloodshed. However, since Doda was designated a terrorist-free region, the security situation has improved.
  • Militancy continues to be a significant concern as Jammu and Kashmir marks two years as a Union Territory, particularly in light of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan’s potential to bolster militant groups like JeM and HuM.
  • As a way to address the political and governance difficulties moving forward, focus has switched to grassroots development through District Development Councils (DDCs). The importance of social media as a source of information cannot be overstated, but inadequate measures have been taken to thwart extremist propaganda. An effort to stop the spread of extremist narratives can be made by investing in AI and other technologies.
  • Long-term peace can also be achieved through emphasising education, which includes rectifying historical inaccuracies and promoting concepts that are approachable and applicable. Building narratives that connect Kashmir and India is essential, and the absence of armed conflict presents a chance to further these initiatives and establish long-lasting peace in the area.

Concerns Regarding the Resurgent Militancy:

  • An increase in incidents related to terrorism
  • Recent years have seen a significant increase in terror-related occurrences in the Rajouri-Poonch region; the attacks have claimed lives, including security personnel, underscoring the necessity of robust counter-insurgency efforts.
  • Changes to Infiltration Dynamics: The traditional infiltration routes through the Line of Control (LoC) have changed, with some recommending using alternate routes through the borders of Bangladesh and Nepal. For security forces, stopping militant infiltration will be difficult in light of this.
  • variables Favouring Militants: The militants have benefited from a number of variables, including the use of smart technology, small-group operations, the resurgence of sleeper cells, and the superiority of ground troops. In addition, the drug problem and its connection to terrorism provide substantial obstacles.

Importance of Local Support:

  • Efforts should be made to comprehend any grievances or alienation within the community.
  • The support of the local population, particularly the Gurjar-Bakkarwal community, has historically played a crucial role in countering militancy.
  • Comprehensive Approach: Recognising that answers cannot be found in a vacuum, combating militancy necessitates a “whole of government” approach. To properly address the many issues, it requires coordinated efforts in the government, justice, and security sectors.
  • Socio-political Factors: Analysing socio-political forces, such as inconsistencies in the Forest Rights Act’s implementation and hostilities between Gurjar-Bakkarwals and Paharis over reservations, can aid in identifying and resolving the fundamental causes of alienation.

Conclusion:

Comprehensive plans and immediate attention are required in response to the return of militancy in the Rajouri-Poonch region. It is possible to solve the difficulties and bring peace back to the area by cooperating with the local community, especially the Gurjar-Bakkarwals, and resolving sociopolitical issues. In order to combat militancy and ensure long-term stability, a comprehensive strategy including numerous sectors and stakeholders is needed.


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