Bengaluru's Vijayraghavan to head S&T advisory panel

Bengaluru's Vijayraghavan to head S&T advisory panel

Prof K Vijayraghavan. (pic courtesy YouTube/Department of Biotechnology)

With less than a year left in his tenure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reconstituted his scientific advisory council, bringing an element of innovation in the panel that traditionally focussed on basic research and technology development.

The 20-member Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council will be headed by eminent biologist and former Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Secretary K Vijayraghavan, who was appointed as the Principal Scientific Advisor to the government in March.


Before joining DBT, Vijayraghavan was the director of Bengaluru-based National Centre for Biological Sciences.

Other panel members are V K Saraswat, member NITI Ayog and former chief of DRDO; A S Kiran Kumar, former chairman, ISRO; Ajay Kumar Sood, professor of physics at IISc, Bengaluru; Maj Gen Madhuri Kanitkar, dean, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune; Sanghamitra Bandopadhyay, director, Indian Statistical Institute, Pune; Manjul Bhargava, Princeton University; Subhash Kak, Oklahoma State University and Baba Kalyani, managing director, Bharat Forge.

Bhargava is a winner of Fields Medal, considered as prestigious as the Nobel Prize but awarded only in the field of mathematics whereas Kalyani heads one of India's largest engineering firms and is the sole representative of the industry in the panel

In addition, 10 secretaries of the central government from the departments of Atomic Energy, Science and Technology, Space, Defence Research and Development, Biotechnology, Scientific and Industrial Research, Agriculture Research and Education, Health Research, Higher Education, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and New and Renewable Energy will be members of the committee as Special Invitees.

The new panel will replace the two previous bodies – Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet and Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister - an official order from the Cabinet Secretariat stated.

In their last 'avatar', the two panels were headed by nuclear scientist R Chidambaram and chemical scientist C N R Rao.

The Vijayraghavan-chaired body will be in place till the next government takes over, sources said. Besides advising the prime minister on issues related to science and technology, the committee would also guide the government on how to use S&T to solve people's problems.

The panel would also formulate and implement major S&T missions, find out ways to commercially exploit technologies already developed by the laboratories, advise how to develop city-based clusters of excellence in science and to suggest reforms that need to be carried out in scientific organisations.

The Prime Minister's Scientific Advisory panel was created by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and appointed A P J Abdul Kalam as its first chief.