SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Role Search

Despite the high importance attached so often to science and technology for national development, this sector is far from getting its due priority <br>A CORRESSPONDENT

June 19, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 05 No.-1 June 17-2011 (Ashar 03,2068)

Science and technology as an area of specialist knowledge is taken to be the key to national development, especially in the wake of serious concerns ranging from rising temperature to nuclear risks. Dealing with such issues demands proper database and scientific research. But in Nepal, although the Ministry of Science and Technology was established more than fifteen years ago, it is yet to be assigned a leading role to carry out research in the sector.


In the existing scheme of things, the Ministry is supposed to coordinate among other ministries in formulating the policy on science and technology and conducting research in various fields. But in practices, that is hardly happening.


Due to the lack of coordination among ministries, there is duplicity in the research work. Realizing this, the ministry has initiated some urgent steps of late.


“This is the age of science and technology. The growth in national production and in productivity of economic sector is not possible without the development of science and technology. The Ministry’s annual budget is overwhelmingly spent for the administrative purposes. That is why, crucial aspects of research in science and technology sector receive less priority,” said Dr. Ram Hari Aryal, secretary to the Ministry of Science and Technology.


In the last four decades, many efforts had been made at the institutional, functional and policy level for the development and expansion of the science and technology sector. The National Science and Technology Council and the Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (RoNAST) were founded in 1976 and 1982 A.D. respectively, and the Ministry of Science and Technology was instituted on 15 April, 1996 A.D. to ensure coordination amongst all the bodies to perform the functions relating to science and technology in the process of national development and to effectively accelerate the activities relating these by creating a conducive environment for the proper development of science and technology.


The major objectives of the Ministry are to promote environmentally sustainable economic development of the country, identify a new technology through the development and promotion of research activities in the field of science and technology and contribute to achieving the national objectives regarding poverty alleviation by developing appropriate and new technology through the research and develop and promote traditional indigenous technologies and encourage the intellectual groups working in the field of science and technology by creating appropriate opportunities.


MoST Initiative

Despite lack of adequate resources, the Ministry has taken some important initiatives to expand the science and technology sector in the country. The Ministry has already announced Information Technology Policy, 2067, Biotechnology Policy, 2063, Nuclear Policy 2064 and Science and Technology Policy, 2061.


Enforcement of the Electronic Transaction Rules, 2061  and Information Technology (Procedures) Rules, 2061 framed under the Electronic Transaction Ordinance Act are some of the achievements.


Other highlights are completion of construction of the office building of the Information Technology Park and commercial as well as residential buildings in Banepa of Kabhrepalanchwok District and creation and operation of the Government Web Portal (www.nepalgov.gov.np) of Government of Nepal through the development and expansion of internet facility in various ministries, secretariats and departments.


National Nuclear Policy, 2064 (2007)

In the last two years, the Ministry of Science and Technology has taken certain drastic steps as it has already announced the National Nuclear Policy. As Nepal has been using nuclear technology in medical sectors for last many decades, there are already problems related to waste management.


With support from IAEA, the ministry has already sent several Nepalese experts for training and knowledge sharing workshops held abroad in this regard.


In the context  of making maximum use of nuclear science in basic research in sectors of food and agriculture, health, energy, industry, geo- science, geo- chemistry, geo- physics and pollution measurement, it is useful for Nepal, too, to achieve better results in these areas by utilizing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.


Importance of nuclear technology has increased since it is environmentally friendly and may be useful in different disciplines of medicines. As well as, it would be a better alternative to minimize the short supply of mineral fuels and to reduce severe environmental impacts caused by large scale hydroelectric power projects.


Nepal being surrounded by several nuclear power plants in its neighborhood and in the context of their number increasing continuously, Nepal cannot remain untouched from any possible nuclear accident that may occur in its neighborhood and therefore, it is urgent to make necessary measurements on the present status of radiation level and there should be regular monitoring and evaluation and proper safety measures in this regard. Moreover, there is an urgent need to inform the general well regarding the benefits and consequences of nuclear science. 


One of the objectives of the policy is to enhance overall national welfare through peaceful use of nuclear science, undertaking its research and development for the economic and social prosperity of the country. To regulate, control and monitor the use of nuclear energy as per IAEA guidelines and to enhance national capacity by developing, expanding and promoting human resources and physical infrastructures related with nuclear science are other goals.


To take sufficient safety measures for the development and use of nuclear energy and to enhance public awareness about benefits and consequences of it is another objective of the policy.


In the areas of Information Technology, the Ministry has already taken several steps. In the context of globalization, the role of information technology is very important and the Ministry has already implemented several policies and announced a system to properly use information technology.


As the electronic transaction is growing and the issues of safety and security are emerging, the execution of electronic transaction act is necessary. In this regard, the Ministry has already conducted discussion with concerned stakeholders.


Although the Ministry has already started to promote science and technology in the country, the present efforts amount to being too little and that needs to be enhanced with sufficient budgets.

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