Science and Technology Vertical is playing a catalytic role in promoting Science & Technology in the country in association with the Central Scientific Departments/Agencies. The key initiatives of the Vertical are as follows:
1. “Make in India” in body armour: Several round of meetings with industries, research organizations and the concerned ministries/agencies were held to identify their capabilities and capacities, strengths and weaknesses along with major issues of concerns and also the status of programmes being implemented by them in this field. Based on these discussions, a Report “Road Map for “Make in India” in Body Armour was prepared and submitted to PMO in August, 2017. A presentation on the recommendations of the Report was made to the PMO on September 19, 2017. While accepting all the recommendations contained in the Report, PMO decided to set up a high level Empowered Committee to under the chairmanship of Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Hon’ble Member, NITI Aayog to drive implementation of the recommendations with a view to promote Make in India in body armour.
2. Methanol Economy: Methanol and Dimethyl Ether (DME) have emerged as potential substitutes of oil and natural gas as their technology has now matured and can be produced indigenously. This will in turn lead to reduction in oil import bill. Pursuing this initiative, an Apex Committee on Methanol Economy and five Task Forces on the following aspects are working on fast track:
Production of Methanol using High Ash Coal.
Production of Methanol using Biomass/Municipal Solid Waste/ sources other than coal.
Utilization of Methanol and DME.
Dissemination of information and creating Public Awareness about Methanol/DME.
Conversion/design of Methanol/DME based Engines.
Hon’ble Minister, Road Transport & Highways and Shipping chaired meeting on July 31, 2017 wherein a large number of decisions were taken to drive methanol economy in India. A key decision was taken to initiate actions for using methanol as a fuel in shipping and inland waterways transportation for which Ministry of Shipping will moot a Cabinet Note for approval. It was also decided that coal to methanol pilot plant would be set up for which Western Coal Fields and Coal India Limited would allocate specific mine.
Financial & administrate reforms for scientific departments: As per directions from the PMO, NITI Aayog took the lead to formulate mechanisms to provide for greater flexibility in financial and administrative rules for Scientific Departments and Ministries. This would provide an enabling environment for adoption of best practices in science management and to achieve the India’s vision of becoming the top 5 science faring nations by 2030. Accordingly, several meetings were organized with the Secretaries of all the Scientific Departments and suitable recommendations were forwarded to DST. Based on the recommendations of NITI Aayog, Department and Science & Technology has formulated a Cabinet Note for financial and administrative reforms for effective functioning and delivery of Science and Technology in India, which is under Inter-Ministerial consultation.
6. Further, the Vertical is facilitating S&T initiatives such as National Supercomputing Mission; Preferential Market Access (PMA) to promote procurement of domestically produced goods and services and manufacturing in India; breaking silos between academia and national R&D labs; ranking and ratings of public funded national R&D labs; effective commercialization of technologies and cyber security technologies in critical sectors of the economy. S&T Vertical represented NITI Aayog in various committees of the Central Scientific Departments like Science & Engineering Research Board, Governing Councils, and EFC/SFC meetings of S&T Departments viz, DST, DBT, DSIR/CSIR, DOP, and DOS.