Government of India has been striving to empower women through various initiatives & programmes. Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology, has been thus actively engaged in creating an ecosystem and enabling environment for women in Science and Technology (S&T) domain since 2002. However, in 2014, DST took a giant step forward and brought all the Women-centric schemes & programs under the ambit of KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing).
Women Scientists Scheme (WOS) under KIRAN specifically addresses challenge confronting women in realm of S&T who had a break in career by providing suitable opportunities to those who desire to return to mainstream science. Though there are a large number of women in India who are highly qualified in S&T, many of them are not able to pursue career due to various familial & social responsibilities. We cannot afford to waste the skills and talent of such women.
Women Scientist Scheme (WOS) has three components- WOS-A, WOS-B and WOS-C. While WOS-A provides opportunities for pursuing research in frontier areas of basic & applied sciences, WOS-B has a focus challenges at grassroots levels and finding appropriate solutions for societal benefit. Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous organization under DST, implements the third component or WOS-C now known as KIRAN-IPR through its Patent Facilitating Centre (PFC).
Under KIRN-IPR programme, year-long rigorous training is provided to women with S&T background about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), in general and patents, in particular. The training facilitates them to work even from their homes and thus maintain a good balance between professional and social responsibilities. These trained women get equipped to either start their own venture after clearing Patent Agent Exam or work in law firms, scientific organizations, etc. The training has successfully developed a pool of women geared to create, protect and manage Intellectual Property in India.
So far, out of the 515 women trained in eight batches under this programme, 138 have cleared the Patent Agent Examination conducted by Patent Office of India. Over 10% of active Patent Agents in India are trained under KIRAN-IPR while 60% of women trained under this unique programme are gainfully employed in the area of IPR. Some of them have even become entrepreneurs and have opened their own firms. These are not only self-employed but also create jobs for many others. Hon’ble President of India conferred the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar (Rani Lakshmibai Award) of Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2015 on TIFAC for its KIRAN-IPR program.
The program is reviewed regularly and has undergone refinement over a period of time in terms of better implementation mechanisms such as online examination for selection of candidates, availability of course material in digital mode, online transfer of stipend to beneficiaries and dedicated web portal for the programme. Thus, it is in sync with the Digital India campaign unleashed by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.