Q. The Government of India, through the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has released a draft of the new Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy. Discuss the objective of introducing SSR Policy and the benefits associated with it.

Model Answer

India is going to be possibly the first country in the world to implement a SSR Policy on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Under the proposed policy, individual scientists or knowledge workers will be required to devote at least 10 person-days of SSR per year for exchanging scientific knowledge to society.

Objectives

The main objective of SSR policy is to harness the voluntary potential that is latent in the country’s scientific community to strengthen science and society linkages so as to make S&T ecosystem vibrant. This specifically implies:

  • Science-society connect: Facilitating inclusive and sustainable development by transferring the benefits of scientific work to meet existing and emerging societal needs.
  • Science-science connect: Creating an enabling environment for the sharing of ideas and resources within the knowledge ecosystem.
  • Society-science connect: Collaborating with communities to identify problems and develop scientific and technological solutions.
  • Cultural change: Inculcating social responsibility among the individuals and institutions practicing science; creating awareness about SSR within society; and infusing scientific temperament into day-to-day social existence and interaction.

Benefits

  • It will expand the domain of science and its benefits to the community and encourage students into science through handholding and nurturing their interest.
  • It will provide training for skill development and upgrade scientific knowledge.
  • It will help MSMEs, Startups and informal sector enterprises in increasing their overall productivity.
  • Facilitate scientific intervention in rural innovation and empower women, disadvantaged and weaker sections of the society through the same.
  • Facilitate actions towards addressing Technology Vision 2035 Prerogatives and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the country such as water, ecology, health and livelihood.

The government has recognised the need to provide incentives for outreach activities with necessary budgetary support. It has been proposed to give credit to knowledge workers/scientists for individual SSR activities in their annual performance appraisal and evaluation. Thus, with the focus of government, it will encourage science and technology (S&T) institutions and individual scientists in the country to proactively engage in science outreach activities to connect science with the society. 

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