NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh stated that several exclusive initiatives are being undertaken to popularise Science stream among girl students, at Higher Secondary level .
In an elaborate reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, the Minister informed that the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has started a new programme ‘Vigyan Jyoti’ to encourage meritorious girl students of Class 9-12 to pursue education and career in science and technology, particularly in the areas where women are under-represented.
At present, he stated, the programme is implemented in 100 districts of the country. Various activities such as Science Camps, special lectures/classes, counselling of students-parents and interaction with role models are conducted in the programme.
Dr Jitendra Singh further stated that selected girls are also getting opportunities to visit nearby scientific institutions and industries. Access to the Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs), wherever available, is also provided to selected students for tinkering activities.
The Women in Science and Engineering-KIRAN (WISE-KIRAN) Scheme of the Department of Science and Technology has various programmes to encourage and promote women researchers in the field of Science & Technology (S&T). ‘Women Scientist Scheme’ under WISE-KIRAN provides opportunities to women scientists and technologists, especially those who had a break in career under its three components namely, i) Women Scientists Scheme-A (WOS-A) for conducting research in Basic & Applied Sciences, ii) Women Scientists Scheme-B (WOS-B) for research that entail S&T interventions for societal benefit, and iii) Women Scientists Scheme-C (WOS-C) for internship in Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The Mobility programme addresses relocation issues of working Women Scientists. Further, ‘Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEMM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medicine) programme provides opportunities to women scientists & technologists to undertake international collaborative research in premier institutions in the USA for 3-6 months.
As per the Minister’s reply, institutional support is also provided through ‘Consolidation of University Research through Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE)’ Programme for development of research infrastructure in women universities in order to encourage women’s participation in Research & Development activities in S&T. DST has started a new programme ‘Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI)’ which aims to transform institutions for a more gender sensitive approach and inclusiveness with the ultimate goal to improve the gender equity in STEMM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine).
During 2020-21, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has started “SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)” scheme with aims to address comparatively lower participation of women scientists in research activities and to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering. In addition to this, SERB has instituted ‘Women Excellence Award’ in order to reward young women scientists below the age of 40 years, who have excelled in science.