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PIB – 29 November 2021


  1. STEM



Focus: GS III- Science and Technology

Why in News?

Recently, India-Israel Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference was held.

  • The need for introducing flexible work times and gender-neutral pays to enhance women participation in STEM was highlighted.

 About STEM

  • STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines  science, technology, engineering and mathematics  in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
  • The STEM acronym was introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • This term is typically used when addressing education policy and curriculum choices in schools to improve competitiveness in science and technology development.
  • It has implications for workforce development, national security concerns and immigration policy.
  • The focus has been on STEM fields and education for them since the late 20th century, when the ongoing shortage of technology workers began.
  • Learners will be involved in planning, managing and providing scientific research as well as professional and technical services including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services.
  • India is one of the countries that produce the highest number of scientists and engineers, the growth of STEM has picked up significantly over the last few years.
  • A robust STEM education creates critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and next-generation innovators.
  • According to the National Science Foundation, it is predicted that 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills.
 Participation of Women in STEM:
  • About 43% of STEM graduates in India are women, which is the highest in the world, but their share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%.
  • In Indian STEM, the primary concern has never been with the number of women graduates, but with the proportion of those who ultimately land STEM jobs.
  • S&T has translated into the economic sphere and institutions are structured so, Science & Technology (S&T) could become a changemaker in society by introducing flexible work times, and gender-neutral pays to enhance women participation in STEM.
  • Greater women’s participation in the tech sector will make women more strong and influential, giving a boost to their socio-economic situation in the society.
 Reasons for the Low Participation:
  • Stereotypes: The paucity of women in STEM is not merely due to skill inadequacy, but also a result of assigned stereotypical gender roles.
  • Patriarchy: There are patriarchal attitudes in hiring practices or awarding fellowships and grants etc.
  • Society: Lack of role models, pressures to conform to societal norms and trappings of domesticity.
  • Stress: Stressors related to marriage, childbirth etc.
  • Household Responsibility: Responsibility related to running of households and elder care.
  • Physical Safety: Physical safety during the commute to work.
  • Harassment: Sexual and other types of harassment in workplaces, etc.


Focus:  GS III- Indian Economy

About National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

  • The government had set up the ₹40,000 crore NIIF in 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled infrastructure projects.
  • The Indian government is investing 49% and the rest of the corpus is to be raised from third-party investors such as sovereign wealth funds, insurance and pension funds, endowments, etc.
    • NIIF’s mandate includes investing in areas such as energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.
    • NIIF currently manages three funds each with its distinctive investment mandate. The funds are registered as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • To raise funds through suitable instruments which also included the off-shore credit enhanced bonds.
  • To attract the anchor investors for their participation as partners in NIIF.
  • Servicing of the investors of the fund.
  • To consider and approve the candidate companies, institutions, and projects for investments.
  • To invest in the corpus created by the Asset Management Companies (AMCs) to invest in private equity.
  • To provide advisory service and prepare a shelf of infrastructure projects.
The three funds are as follows
  • Master Fund: Is an infrastructure fund with the objective of primarily investing in operating assets in the core infrastructure sectors such as roads, ports, airports, power etc.
  • Fund of Funds: Managed by fund managers who have good track records in infrastructure and associated sectors in India. Some of the sectors of focus include Green Infrastructure, Mid-Income & Affordable Housing, Infrastructure services and allied sectors.
  • Strategic Investment Fund: Is registered as an Alternative Investment Fund II under SEBI in India. The objective is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments. It will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.
December 2023