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It is a wake-up call: Top Scientific Adviser

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New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) “It is a wake-up call,” said K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientificy Adviser to the Centre, whose role is very significant in the current COVID-19 scenario. Raghavan on Thursday stressed the need to reinvent to create a national structure which can deal with extraordinary situations.

“We are good at doing something when someone else has already done it. We need to flip it around so that India leads in every sector. This is a wake-up call for us,” said Raghavan.

He was addressing a webinar ‘How science, technology and innovation can lift India out of the Covid-19 pandemic through public-private partnership’, organised by FICCI, jointly with his office and the Department of Science and Technology.

Highlighting the post Covid-19 scenario, he said hygiene, use of contact tracing apps, testing and social distancing at workplace areas will be paramount and companies will have to ensure it.

In the context of government having already given indications that some reprieve may be in the offing after May 3, the question remains how to gradually go about our normal life activities as the survival mantra is social distancing. “The challenge in going forward is how we will open work places without the vaccine. Logistics, while difficult, will need to be worked out,” he said.

He said industry, academia and everyone must work to clean up the environment.

Meanwhile, Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary at Department of Science and Technology, stressed the need for a much stronger public-private partnership (PPPs). “Let it translate into some purposeful rapid action; the government is with industry. This can be done, and it ought to be done,” said Sharma.

Dr Arabinda Mitra, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor, said the focus must stay on key areas such as technology intelligence within industry bodies or industries; effective PPP for technology development, human capital, infrastructure capital and multi-consortium model by pooling together startups, academia, industry and technology diplomacy.

“India’s engagement in the past was reactive, but now it has to be proactive. We are very open to co-collaborate. These collaborations can only happen when we are on an equal footing,” said Mitra.

FICCI President Dr Sangita Reddy observed that there cannot be a better moment to show that it is science and technology that can help us fight. “It is time for us to move into a more specialized program. We need to set up infrastructure to promote innovations by connecting people and institutions,” she said.



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