HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Monday favoured increased participation of DRDO’s women scientists in various initiatives taken by her ministry in promoting girl education and bringing a change in rural lives. With women scientists comprising about 20 per cent of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) workforce, she said they can be a source of inspiration for countless girls who seek opportunities to realise their dreams.
“We have launched the Udaan initiative to prepare girls coming from disadvantaged sections to excel in competitive exams to IITs and IIMs. Some of the brightest minds in DRDO can interact with girls who are trying to take flight,” the minister said.
The special focus of ‘Udaan’ is to address the issue of low enrolment ratio of girl students in prestigious educational institutions and to enable them to join them and go on to take leadership roles in the future. Irani was speaking at a national workshop on ‘women innovators for excellence in research and science winners’ here commemorating International Women’s Day.
The Minister said the women scientists of the premier research institute can also contribute to the success of the ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’ mission and address issues confronting women in rural India. The programme was launched last year piloted by Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across the country with an aim to improve the lot of rural India through technological interventions.
Talking about the ‘Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan’, the other initiative of the Ministry to inculcate interest in science and mathematics, she sought engagement of the DRDO scientists in the programme to make it a success. Irani had earlier said that the inclination towards studying maths and science had decreased to about 30 percent.