New Delhi, March 2: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), an innovation promotion platform in the NITI Aayog, with an initial fund of Rs.150 crore for research and development.
Named after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, AIM will be an innovation promotion platform involving academics, entrepreneurs and researchers.
"The AIM platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs.Initially, a sum of Rs.150 crore will be earmarked for this purpose," Jaitley said while presenting the union budget for the next fiscal.
According to science policy expert Pranav Desai, the budget scores in areas like health and education, in terms of setting up new IITs, AAIIMs and IIMs. However, Desai said that for innovation, the stress should be on networking instead of entrepreneurship-based innovation.
"Innovation is certainly very important, but entrepreneurship-based innovations are not important any more. "The government should encourage interactions between industry, university, researchers and different players. That is more important than simply a boost to entrepreneurs," Desai, professor and chairperson, Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP), School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, told IANS.
The finance minister said AIM would draw upon national and international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, research and development and scientific research in India.
"You will not have effective innovation unless interactions are encouraged," Desai said.
Concurring, Chitra Mandal, acting director, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Kolkata, said the government should lay down concrete plans on translating research into applications.
"There is so much of research that is going on in our labs. We need to bridge the gap between research and their commercial applications. "
How to approach industries, network with them and enable the work done in labs to get out for benefit of society this aspect should be considered," Mandal told IANS.
CSIR-IICB recently bagged the first position among all the CSIR laboratories with regards to research output in life sciences discipline in the Nature Index report.
In the budget, Jaitley said six more AIIMS like institutions will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam.
Bihar would get a second institute modelled on the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He also announced the setting up of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Karnataka along with Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh.
"Setting up IIT, AIIMS-like institutions, IIMs are positives in the budget. I don't feel it would dilute the importance of the original institutes."
"The areas in which these institutes would be established require educational and technological institutes. It's a boost. Multiplying the AIIMS model of health and research would be a good step," Desai said.