28 Jan : Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State (IC) for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences released the Report of the ‘Task Force for Women in Science’ in a function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi yesterday evening. While releasing the Report Shri Chavan observed that the Government have already implemented certain parts of the recommendations made by the Task Force. However, there are several issues which need to be addressed immediately without further loss of time.
Shri Chavan directed the Secretary, Department of Science & Technology to prepare the Action Taken Report within six months in a time bound manner. He mentioned the important initiatives taken by the Government to attract young students towards science, especially, the girls. Under the INSPIRE Scheme (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research), the name of at least one science awardee per school in the age group of 10-15 in the entire country will soon be announced. To address the issue of under representation of women, Government has taken a new innovative step which is meant for women’s universities. Under this scheme named ‘Consolidation of University Research and Innovation and Excellence’ (CURIE), an allocation of Rs. 17 crore has been made to four women universities and funds will be allotted to two more universities shortly, he added.
The Minister underlined the need for giving maximum attention to address the issue of gender disparity. To ensure faster development of the nation, it is imperative that women who constitute50 percent of our population should be given proper and due attention. He called upon organized private sector to come forward with the Employment Generation Schemes and share their corporate social responsibility. He informed that Government on its part will make all out efforts to focus on research and development (R&D) so that objective of increasing R &D allocations upto 2 per cent of GDP from the existing 1 per cent level, could be achieved.
It may be mentioned that the Task Force on Women in Science was set up in December 2005 to recommend appropriate measures to promote and encourage women to take up scientific and technological professions; to suggest measures to motivate girls to take S&T measures for higher education and develop a scientific temper and awareness and to consider and recommend other proactive gender enabling measures to bring about a greater involvement of women in science and technology.
The Report of the Task force evaluates the present situation for women scientists in India, attempts to identify the social and institutional reasons why women scientists appear to be at a disadvantage and suggests some measures that could be taken to improve the situation.
Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, DST, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, eminent agricultural scientist, Dr. Mahtab S. Bamji, Chairperson of Task Force also addressed the gathering.