The government is working on a new National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, to replace the existing policy framed in 2013, which will be forward-looking and have both a vision document as well as an action plan on the fundamental research required in crucial areas such as space, health, atomic physics and bio-technology, a senior official has said.The Department of Science & Technology is steering the exercise and will soon initiate stakeholder interaction on what the new policy should include, said Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister K Vijay Raghavan in an interaction with journalists.Nothing wrong with the existing policy“There is nothing wrong with the existing policy. But it was made keeping in mind a snapshot of what the world was then (in 2013),” Vijay Raghavan said, adding that the older policy focussed more on what the problem areas were than on what was to be done.There was no strict timeline at the moment for completing the exercise of drafting the new policy, but the stakeholder consultation process, which will be at four levels, would kick-off soon, he said.The Principal Scientific Advisor pointed out that private investment in India in R&D was still very low and a suitable environment needed to be created to induce entities to invest. “One way to increase R&D spend in the country is to make it attractive for companies to invest,” he said.Restoring the 200 per cent income tax deduction for in-house R&D spend, which was reduced to 150 per cent from April 1 2017, could be one way to encourage investment in the area. This has been a demand of the industry for a long time, Vijay Raghavan said.Of the total R&D investments made in the country, 70 per cent is made directly by the government while 30 per cent of the investment comes from the industry. As much as 90 per cent of the industry investment is also made by the public sector units with private sector accounting for just 10 per cent (of 30 per cent), he added.Consultation processSharing details of the consultation process for framing the new Science, Technology and Innovation policy, the Principal Scientific Adviser said that in the first level of consultations, the scientific community and industry representatives would talk to citizens of the country to find out what kind of scientific break-through and innovation were they looking for. This would help narrow down the field of new research for scientific development and innovation.At the second level, the Centre would talk to State governments to discuss how both could work together to make a policy that would help them develop world-class products.The third level of stakeholder consultations will be with various Ministries and Departments such as Railways, Shipping and Water Resources to find out what science and technology advantage would they need in their respective areas.The fourth level of interaction would be horizontal, focussing on basic research needed in fundamental areas such as condensed matter physics, solid state physics, material research, etc. “We have to see where are we in these areas and what more needs to be done,” Vijay Raghavan said.