With the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change at the helm, a joint-working group of all scientific ministries has been formed to tackle issues such as air pollution, climate change and solid waste management.
Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is currently in-charge of all scientific ministries and he chaired a meeting with officials from the concerned departments on Monday. The joint-working group, comprising of top officials of environment ministry, earth sciences ministry and ministry of science and technology, will meet every month and the minister will chair a meeting every quarter.
The department of scientific and industrial research, department of biotechnology and department of scientific and industrial research under the ministry of science and technology will also be a part of this working group.
Vardhan said that there was a need for all the scientific departments to work in cohesion and collaborate on specific projects to provide solutions in a time-bound manner. “The focus of the joint-working group has to be not only creating technology, but look at the entire delivery chain, where we are able to prove the technology and then scale it up”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said. “This requires convergence between one who has the technology and the other who needs the technology”, he added.
While the first meeting did not identify and initiate work on any specific projects, the minister urged departments to identify 10 priority areas. Officials from the ministry said that curbing air pollution, creation solutions for climate change adaptation and water conservation are some of the issues that were discussed in the first meeting.
Officials added that the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is already working on creating smokeless firecrackers in the wake of pollution generated by bursting of crackers during festivals across the country.
“All these departments are headed by the same minister and hence it becomes easier for the departments to collaborate. The minister thought that issues of environment, forests and climate change can be addressed better through a focus group.
There are commonalities in some of the projects such as pollution control, solid waste management and this group will help in expediting work,” said M Rajeevan Nair, Secretary, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.