Budget 2019: Sitharaman Announces Setting Up of National Research Foundation; to be Chaired by PM Modi
New Delhi: Presenting the first budget of the Narendra Modi government, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced setting up of National Research Foundation (NRF) to fund, coordinate and promote research in the country.
NRF will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and co-chaired by Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India. “It proposes better governance systems and focus on research & innovation. Propose to set up a new national research foundation. Funds available in all ministries will be integrated under NRF,” Sitharaman said in her maiden Budget speech.
She also committed to bringing out the New Education policy. “NEP to be brought in to transform India educational system, major changes in higher as well as school system to be brought in,” said the FM. The NRF is also one of the recommendations in the New Education Policy 2019.
India has potential to become education hub, Sitharaman said, while proposing ‘Study in India’ programme to attract foreign students.
The new foundation will aim to build “comprehensive collaborative mechanism between the Central and State governments, public agencies, research organisations, education institutions and industries.”
It will enable centralised funding and outcome monitoring mechanism, thus ensuring “coordinated research and innovation efforts, especially in problems areas critical for India and also globally relevant”.
The NRF has been proposed to correct the deficit in research. As per a data released by the central government, India’s research and innovation investment vis-a-vis global standards in terms of percentage of GDP is quite less (0.68%) in comparison to United States (2.8%), China (2.1%), Israel (4.3%) and South Korea (4.2%).
“If India aims to emerge as a global research and innovation hub, apart from just increasing the funding, we also need to have a central systematic mechanism to fund and monitor research and innovation outcomes, especially in the fields of national importance,” said the statement from the ministry.
The NRF is expected to focus on promoting and funding multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-investigator led research by having a robust industry-academia collaboration.
And to facilitate the linkage of national labs to local universities and educational institutions for creating new knowledge ecosystems. “NRF will undertake comprehensive initiatives for building high-quality human-resources, comparable to the global best with a good understanding of research and innovation methods, trained in critical-thinking abilities and daring to think out-of-the-box,” said statement from the ministry.
It also aims to remove current obstacles in creation a global quality research and innovation ecosystem by providing a reliable, merit-based peer-reviewed research funding thus helping in nurturing the culture of research and innovation in the country.