From now onward, no minister in the Narendra Modi government will form part of any delegation going abroad to participate in a conference on science and technology.
Dr Jitender Singh, Minister of State for Ministry of Science & Technology, disclosed this while addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters on his maiden visit to Jammu & Kashmir after assuming charge. He said that only the scientists with original presentation will participate in such conferences.
“My appetite for foreign travel is already over,’’ said Singh. “We shall choose scientists who have original presentation for participation in such conferences’’.
“Only this month, there were two conferences taking place – one at Santiago and other in Boston.
“As per past practice, we were told that the minister will lead the delegation. We asked them to excuse us from this practice,’’ Singh said, adding that a senior scientist, Dr Raghvan will now lead the delegation on July 25.
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The decision is a major shift from past practice adopted by successive governments at the Centre when ministers used to head delegations participating in such conferences abroad.
Making clear the new government’s plans to bring about a strong work culture in the administration, Singh said that they will not be vindictive with bureaucrats, but they will have to adopt a strong work culture. “When we ourselves sit in office for 12-14 hours a day, they too will have to mend themselves,’’ said Singh.
He also made a mention of some selected bureaucrats traveling abroad to participate in conferences on science and technology in the past. “I came across some records which showed that only a few bureaucrats having traveled abroad,’’ said Singh.
Now, in order to have scientists associate with the ministry, they have decided to fill up certain vacant posts from among the scientists.
“We have started getting applications from senior scientists,’’ he said, adding that they have also started approaching those who had been left out in the past when there used to be an impression that one had to carry a small beard and leaning toward the Left to be a scientist.
“A veteran scientist from Nagpur, who is also the recipient of Padmashree, had approached us and he too has been associated,’’ said Singh.
“We have plans and also have the clarity to execute them,’’ he said while referring to various steps initiated by Narendra Modi government in last seven days.
About the forthcoming Amarnath yatra in South Kashmir Himalayas, Singh said that the Central government will install a new equipment called “coupled weather forecast” for actual weather forecast every three hours. While this will enable pilgrims to access the weather forecast at regular intervals along the yatra route, it will also check officials who had been resorting to excuses in the past that the yatra was stopped due to hostile weather conditions during the next 24 hours, said Singh.