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.
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.