Punjab State Council for Science and Technology increasing the science and technology innovation ecosystem of Punjab
Punjab is one of the most dynamic and progressive states known for its technological assets in agriculture and manufacturing. Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), established in 1983 as a think tank of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment, Government. of Punjab and state-level node of Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India is developing science, technology and innovation (STI) as a strong foothold to support government and industry levers.
The Council conceptualized and catalyzed the establishment of world-class S&T infrastructure in the form of a state-of-the-art institutional cluster housing the “City of Knowledge” spread over 400 acres in Mohali. It hosts the first Technology Innovation Support Center (TISC) set up by the World Intellectual Property Organization, UN and DPIIT, GOI in the country. Furthermore, he also designed and facilitated the establishment of Pushpa Gujral Science City in Kapurthala.
PSCST has set up a unique example of improving the competitiveness of MSMEs through technological interventions. The cleaner technologies demonstrated and promoted by the Council have been adopted by 1600 MSMEs over the past 5 years, helping them reap economic benefits of Rs. 750 Crores. This has raised private sector investments to the tune of Rs. 450 Crores for cleaner production in the state, led to reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 3.5 lakh tons/year and provided a cleaner working environment to around one lakh industrial workforce.
The Council leads the Innovate Punjab mission launched by the government. of Punjab in 2019 for synergy and augmentation of the STI ecosystem to drive growth and create quality jobs. These efforts led to the state rising from 11th in 2019 to 6th Most Innovative Major State in 2021 on the India Innovation Index Ranking Framework and recognition of the state in the category “Leader” in the ranking of start-ups in the country.
All elements of the state’s STI ecosystem, namely 20+ national research institutes, 35+ universities, 25+ business incubators/accelerators, 100+ innovation cells, 15+ IPR cells, 15+ ministries , 15+ industry associations are synergized by PSCST. He works in tandem with them to identify major state challenges as well as unmet industry needs and provide solutions to address them.
With the open burning of paddy straw in fields being a major state challenge, the Council has taken a unique initiative to provide technological solutions for its lucrative use as a greener fuel. Apart from setting up two factories for the manufacture of paddy straw briquettes/pellets, it has established potential for their use as a replacement for coal in brick kilns and industrial boilers. As a result, the state government is taking policy initiatives to promote paddy straw pellets for industrial applications, which is a giant step towards India’s commitment to be Net Zero.
The Council is developing ‘STI Observatory-Punjab’, the country’s first state-level knowledge portal, set up as a one-stop digital platform to provide holistic information on around 65 STI indicators encompassing the whole pipeline i.e. education, research, innovation and commercialization as well as resource pooling platform i.e. equipment pool, technology platform, researcher network, the IP portfolio, must be leveraged by all stakeholders.
The PSCST is also spearheading the DST-supported Punjab State Climate Change Knowledge Centre, GoI. It is developing a State Action Plan on Climate Change 2.0 to align the state’s climate program with the Nationally Determined Contributions and India’s Sustainable Development Goals.
It also plays a vital role in boosting rural businesses. Through the Bioresources Processing Facility and Rural Innovation and Application Center he has established by involving local cooperatives in the Shivalik Foothill Belt, the backward region of Punjab, he is generating more than 2 lac man-days/year for the rural community, especially women. .
To support state innovators, the Council provides services for international patent searches and facilitates the filing of their intellectual property rights. It has also set up 15 IPR cells at universities and institutions across the state and supports MSMEs and start-ups for intellectual property protection by working closely with the state Department of Industries.
The Council is the state’s nodal agency for implementing flagship science outreach and environmental awareness programs such as the Children’s Science Congress, SCoPE (Science Communication, Outreach and Outreach), the National Green Corps, the center for environmental information services. It is also leveraging CSR funding for the inculcation of scientific temperament in the state by involving companies like WIPRO etc.
Punjab indeed tops the ranking of ITS at the center of state development planning.