Law on National Research Foundation Comes Into Effect

The Central Government has notified provisions of a legislation, which provides for the establishment of a national research foundation to promote research and development in the country.

The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act, 2023, received presidential assent in August of last year. As per the Act, the ANRF will provide high-level strategic direction for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the fields of natural sciences. It is also tasked with undertaking various initiatives to facilitate research at colleges and universities, encourage public and private sector entities to invest in its activities, etc. and conducting annual surveys of outcomes of scientific research. The amounts received through grants, loans, and other sources under Section 13 of the Act have to be allocated to the ANRF Fund, Innovation Fund, Science and Engineering Research Fund, and Special Purpose Funds.

Further, the Act provides for the dissolution of the Science and Engineering Research Board, after which the Board’s assets and liabilities would be deemed to be those of the Foundation.

The press release dated February 6, 2024, issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology, states that the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Prof. Abhay Karandikar has been appointed as the interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Foundation.

In the Union Budget 2021-22, it was announced that the NRF has an outlay of Rs.50,000 crore over five years. Last year, the Union Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh stated that out of the said amount, Rs.36,000 crore would be sourced from “non-government sources, from industry & philanthropists, from domestic as well as outside sources”. However, it is reported that the allocation was considerably reduced later on.