New Delhi : Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, India is committed to ensuring accessibility and affordability of vaccines for all.
Addressing the Seventh Annual Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals of UN, Dr Jitendra Singh said, India has been strongly advocating for the principle of equity in the WHO and has also proposed, along with South Africa, a TRIPS waiver at the WTO for COVID vaccines, diagnostics, and medicines. He said, India is working actively with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to realize this goal.
The Multi-Stakeholder Forum this year is focussing on science, technology and innovation for building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Dr Jitendra Singh told the delegates that that the enormous power of digital and information technology has been a key component of global response to Covid. He added, utilizing India’s strength in the digital space, New Delhi decided to share with the world, India-developed Co-WIN App, to provide digital support to better organize vaccination drives. The Minister said, India has long been fostering Science Technology and Innovation and nurturing an enabling ecosystem to incubate and scale revolutionary ideas, help improve the quality of lives of people and provide solutions to global problems. This has become even more crucial in the current scenario, he added.
Referring to the global effort to overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic in the last two years, Dr Jitendra Singh said, India has emerged as a member of leading international scientific coalitions in vaccine research. Our scientific community, along with the support of a robust pharmaceutical industry, have been successful in developing and producing safe, effective, and affordable vaccines, including the world’s first DNA based vaccine, the Minister asserted.
Indian Minister cautioned the members that the current data on COVID-19 cases demonstrates that we are still far from a post-pandemic world and called for meaningful partnership by pooling resources and sharing knowledge. He said, Science, Technology and Innovation cooperation with a spirit of collaboration is a key to accelerate our collective response to COVID-19 and also towards sustainable development. He reiterated that STI should become an inclusive and equitable tool for SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) delivery based on affordable, accessible and available technological innovation.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Technology-driven creative business models and service delivery have a vast potential to fast-track the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in a cost-effective, transparent and inclusive manner. However we need to facilitate access to technology for developing countries to tackle challenges related to sustainable development. He said, in India, Science and Technology has become a vital tool in the post-pandemic recovery as we build back better and added that India is bridging the digital divide by leveraging technology solutions that are low cost, developmental and designed to empower all citizens, especially women. Today the number of Internet users in the villages has exceeded that of the cities and Public services and last mile delivery are linked to digital platforms. All these have contributed to advancing the achievement of SDGs, the Minister added.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Jitendra Singh said, in the spirit of South-South Cooperation, India is collaborating with the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and UN’s Interagency Task Team (IATT) in supporting pilot countries from Africa and other developing world in formulating and implementing their Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development Goals Roadmaps