Topic: Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR)
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Governance
A draft of the new Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) Policy has been made available by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on its website for public comments.
India is going to be possibly the first country in the world to implement a SSR Policy on the lines of CSR.
The draft defines SSR as “the ethical obligation of knowledge workers in all fields of science and technology to voluntarily contribute their knowledge and resources to the widest spectrum of stakeholders in society, in a spirit of service and conscious reciprocity”.
- The policy aims to harness latent potential of the scientific community for strengthening linkages between science and society, and for making S&T ecosystem vibrant.
- This is in a move to encourage S&T institutions and individual scientists in the country to proactively engage in science outreach activities to connect science with the society.
- It is aimed at developing a mechanism for ensuring access to scientific knowledge, transferring benefits of science to meet societal needs, promoting collaborations to identify problems and develop solutions.
- When most research is being done by using taxpayers’ money, the scientific establishment has an ethical obligation of “giving back” to the society.
- SSR is not only about scientific impact upon society but also about the social impact upon science.
- SSR would therefore strengthen the knowledge ecosystem and bring efficiencies in harnessing science for the benefit of society,” says the draft policy.
Premise for the Policy
- This draft policy builds upon traditions of earlier policies (Scientific Policy Resolution 1958, Technology Policy Statement 1983, S&T Policy 2003 and Sci-Tech and Innovation Policy 2013).
- The new policy is proposing more pragmatic provisions to make institutions and individual scientists socially responsible.
- 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.
- It also recognizes the need to provide incentives for outreach activities with necessary budgetary support.
- It has also been proposed to give credit to knowledge workers/scientists for individual SSR activities in their annual performance appraisal and evaluation.
- No institution would be allowed to outsource or sub-contract their SSR activities and projects.
- For implementation of the policy, a national portal will be developed up to capture societal needs requiring scientific interventions and as a platform for implementers and for reporting SSR activities.
- A central agency will be established at DST to implement the SSR.
- Other ministries would also be encouraged to make their own plans to implement SSR as per their mandate.