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CSR Funds to Encourage Research and Development in India: Odisha Government

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The State administration of Odisha encouraged the Center to design a framework for institutionalising proactive engagement in the growth of the scientific and technology ecosystem across all the States. Science and Technology Minister Ashok Panda stressed the importance of fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and research and development in order to improve the State’s STI ecosystems while taking part in the leadership session of the State S&T Ministers’ conclave in Ahmedabad.
Panda stressed the importance of developing a plan to integrate state innovation systems with the national system and suggested that the union government and the states work together to encourage private sector involvement. Panda also raised the notion of establishing a corpus fund by the states and the Centre, suggesting that a percentage of CSR funding may be made mandatory for research and development in the states.

CSR for Research and Development

In 2019, the government of India decided to allow corporate India to use their mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending for investments in publicly-funded incubators and contribute to research efforts in science, technology, medicine and engineering at major institutions and bodies.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that the rules governing CSR spending norms were amended to pave way for greater investment into research — a parameter the country fares poorly on a global basis. India’s spending on research and development (R&D) activities has been far less than 1% of GDP for years, with the private sector chipping in less than half of investments.

Government’s Focus on Science and Tech in India

Emphasising on the importance of science and technology in accelerating the country’s development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is moving towards leading the fourth industrial revolution. While inaugurating the Centre-State Science Conclave on 10 September he said, “Centre-State Science Conclave is an example of our mantra of Sabka Prayas. Today, as India moves towards leading the fourth industrial revolution, the role of India’s science and people associated with this field is very important.”
Science will be a key factor in accelerating the growth of all areas and sectors for the development of the New India of the twenty-first century. The Prime Minister urged people to enthusiastically celebrate the nation’s scientists’ accomplishments. “We should celebrate the achievements of our scientists. When we celebrate scientists and their innovations, science will become a part of our culture. Our government is moving forward with the vision of science-based development,” PM said.

The Need for Creating more Institutions

In order to encourage innovation, PM said the state governments should emphasize on the creation of more scientific institutions and simplification of processes.
“In the states, there are many national-level scientific institutes, national laboratories are also there. The states should take full advantage of their capability and their expertise. We also have to take our science-related institutions out of the state of silos,” Prime Minister said. He said the number of innovation labs should also be increased in higher education institutions in the States.