By Paras Ali

INVESTING IN scientific research and technological innovations will inevitably result in socio-economic benefits and effective implementation, and successful implementation of the newly formed policy on Science and Technology would prove to a milestone in achieving the desired goals. The SandT policy has set the directions of future institutional development and prescribed monitoring of the implementation process in the light of clearly defined objectives.

These views were expressed by speakers on the occasion of formal launching of the recently approved “National Science, Technology And Innovation Policy 2012” at a ceremony organized by the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST) in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology.

“The new demand-driven and people centric STandI policy reflects a milestone for development strategy of self-reliance and focuses on improving the quality of the common people by creating an industrial and economic environment,” said Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, while speaking on the occasion as chief guest.

It is now universally recognized that the development of a country depends on its SandT capacity. This linkage is witnessed across the nations. Especially after the World War II, the established recipe for nation building and reconstruction has been the use of rapidly expanding SandT resources. Since the dawn of 21st century, there has been absolutely no human activity that is not affected by SandT advances, and consequently there is no socio-economic development aspect that is not prone to SandT based solutions, Changez said.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Secretary for Science and Technology said that the main objective of the ceremony was to create consciousness about the National STandI Policy among various stakeholders. He highlighted principal aims and objectives of the policy under the broader areas of socio-economic development, human resource development, RandD infrastructure, promotion of STandI in the society and SandT management system. The new policy envisages a paradigm shift, in which innovation is recognized as an integral part of SandT system, he added.

The RandD areas, he maintained, have to be determined keeping in view the social, economic and security needs of the country. The National STandI Policy 2012 has identified 16 thrust areas for RandD activities for Pakistan and has suggested measures for enhancing efforts in each of these areas. The subjects include Metrology, Standards, Testing and Quality, Environment, Health and Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Agriculture and Livestock, Water, Minerals, Ocean Resources, Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies, Space Technology, Materials Science, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Lasers and Photonics and Engineering.

Minister of State for Science and Technology, Raheela Shahadat Baloch, was of the view that investing in scientific research and technological innovation will inevitably result in socio-economic benefits. She showed high hopes for effective implementation and success of this policy document which has been very carefully developed involving all major stakeholders.

Chairperson PCST, Prof. Dr. Mudassir Asrar, said that this event would be an inspiring initiative of the Council in strengthening the scientific and technological co-operation among the stakeholders. She assured that PCST will put in the best of its efforts and will take all the stakeholders on board in the process of policy implementation.

He argued that the transformational powers of SandT applications in changing the socio-economic conditions of any country, irrespective of its geography, ethnicity or cultural traits, are, therefore, self-evident. Ignoring this reality can be done only at the cost of dignified national survival.

A large number of dignitaries including ministers, parliamentarians, federal and provincial secretaries, heads of RandD organizations, VCs of universities, eminent scientists, representatives of foreign missions, international donors, representatives of private sector and industry chambers of commerce and others attended the ceremony.

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