Centre to set up 75 Science Tech & Innovation hubs for SC/ST

(IANS): As many as 75 Science Technology and Innovation (STI) hubs, exclusively for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), will be set up in different parts of the country, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday.

“These hubs will not only promote scientific talent but also contribute to socio-economic development of these communities. In the last two years, 20 STI Hubs (13 for SCs and seven for STs) have already been established by DST which will directly benefit 20,000 SC and ST population through various interventions spreading across farm, non-farm, other allied livelihood sectors and various livelihoods assets like energy, water, health, education, etc,” the minister said after holding a high level review meeting with senior officials of Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Referring to Prime Minister Modi’s address from the Red Fort on 75th Independence Day, the Minister said that along with the concern of fulfilling the basic needs, reservation is being ensured for the Dalits, Backward classes, Adivasis and also the poor people from general category. More recently, in the field of medical education, reservation has also been ensured for the OBC category in the All India quota and by formulating a law in Parliament, the right to make their own list of OBC has been given to the States.

STI hubs will have mainly three-fold objectives: To address the weakest linkages in the predominant livelihood systems through Science & Technology (S&T) interventions, Creation of social enterprises based on the strengths in livelihood systems, to improve the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) through inputs of S&T for strengthening the livelihoods.

According to an official communique, the STI Hub established by CSIR – Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Ladakh is integrating Information Technology (IT) with health diagnostics and developing the skill of ST youth in IT.

Another such hub in Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University in West Bengal is catering to the needs of ST population belonging to 34 villages in 15 blocks of 7 districts of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha. The interventions include development of water filters using nano materials, production of aromatic oils, establishment of germplasm of various medicinal plants to develop niche products and development of social enterprises. At least 2,296 persons now have access to clean and safe drinking water and 1,410 persons have access to health care facilities and improved nutrition, the release added.

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