The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Bill 2023 to set up a national agency to fund research across universities in the country.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.
It was passed by a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha in just 40 minutes after being taken up for consideration and passage. Only six members participated in the debate as the Opposition had earlier walked out of the House.
Replying to the discussion for consideration and passage of the Bill, Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh termed it "history in the making" and said it is going to have long-term outcomes.
As Opposition members were not present in the Upper House during the discussion and passage of the Bill, Singh said the government was looking forward to having more constructive inputs from them as well.
Participating in the discussion on the Bill, Sujit Kumar of the BJD said: "The hope is that this Bill - NRF 2023 - will bring about an integrated, holistic and a perceptible change in the country's innovation landscape by tapping into universities, higher education and the private sector".
Ayodhya Rami Reddy Alla of the YSRCP termed the Bill "transformative" and one that holds immense promise for India's future.
"The establishment of NRF is going to give a new direction to reshape our nation's research innovation and entrepreneurial landscape," he noted.
Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar of the TDP also "wholeheartedly" supported the Bill.
V Vijayasai Reddy, YSRCP, termed it a significant step forward in the direction of revamping the entire R & D ecosystem and said his party, therefore, supports the proposed legislation.
Other members including G K Vasan TMC (M) and M Thambidurai AIADMK also spoke on the features of the Bill.
On 28 June, 2023 the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in Parliament.
The approved Bill will pave the way to establish NRF that will seed, grow and promote Research and Development (R&D) and foster a culture of research and innovation throughout India's universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories.
The Bill, after approval in the Parliament, will establish the NRF, an apex body to provide high-level strategic direction of scientific research in the country according to recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), at a total estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore during five years (2023-28).
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will be the administrative Department of NRF which will be governed by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines.
Since the scope of the NRF is wide-ranging impacting all ministries - the prime minister will be the ex-officio president of the board and the Union Minister of Science & Technology & Union Minister of Education will be the ex-officio vice-presidents. NRF's functioning will be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
The NRF will forge collaborations among the industry, academia, and government departments and research institutions, and create an interface mechanism for participation and contribution of industries and state governments in addition to the scientific and line ministries.
It will focus on creating a policy framework and putting in place regulatory processes that can encourage collaboration and increased spending by the industry on R&D.
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