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10 May 2017 Question Bank


10th MAY 2017


(1 Question)


Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.


1.     SPARK (Sustainable Progress through Application of Research and Knowledge), a proposed initiative to synergise science activity in India, hags huge potential. Comment.


Existing systems

  • SPARK (Sustainable Progress through Application of Research and Knowledge) is a new, more efficient way of managing science is surely welcome, but one needs to put in a lot of thought before taking any action.

1.      The existing systems of science governance in this country are robust with departments reporting to ministers who in turn report to the Union Cabinet. There is no lack of sound advisory bodies and committees within these departments.

2.      As for overarching bodies, we already have the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister and the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

Why are there two such similar bodies? Have any of their recommendations resulted in concrete actions? In the end, they have remained toothless. Do we need a third such body?

3.      The science departments are too different from one another to come under the purview of one "overarching" body like SPARK.

4.      The Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology are purely funding and outreach organisations.

5.      The Department of Atomic Energy, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Department of Space and others are into mission-mode projects.

6.      The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has a special and tricky mandate which involves interaction with industry.

SPARK is not even required to "closely work with industry and evolve public private partnerships". That is the mandate of CSIR.

SPARK goals:

  • The goals of SPARK seem to be most closely attuned with NITI Aayog, and it might well be effective only within this parent organisation, taking inputs from various quarters such as industries, the ministries themselves and NGOs to make proposals, some of which could move forward to become major initiatives.
  • What one needs is a management technique that effectively identifies scientific challenges and links the resulting breakthroughs with national problems.
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