New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill that would enable the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to start an academy to award post-graduate and doctoral degrees.

The Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR) Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July last year.

It was taken up for consideration in the Lower House in March but discussion on it remained inconclusive as former Science and Technology Minister Murli Manohar Joshi raised certain objections.

The proposed legislation aims to establish the academy for advancement of learning and promotion of research in the field of science and technology in association with the CSIR.

Presently, scientists pursuing research in any of the 37 laboratories of CSIR across the country have to register themselves at different universities.

The bill was introduced by then S&T Minister Prithviraj Chavan and taken up for consideration during the brief tenure of Pawan Kumar Bansal as S&T Minister.

The current S&T Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh ironed out the wrinkles on the bill raised due to Joshi's objections at a lengthy meeting last week which was also attended by vice chancellors of universities. Joshi had feared that the creation of the academy would affect existing universities and other institutions and lead to brain drain to the new institution.

"I have met Murli Manohar Joshi and most of the issues raised by him have been settled," Deshmukh told the Lok Sabha amid vociferous protests over the appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat.

"I lay my speech on the table of the House," he said. The Rajya Sabha is expected to take up the Bill on Wednesday.

Once the AcSIR is set up, it would enable registration of such researchers. In addition, the academy will award post-graduate degrees.

The objective is to stem the growing shortage of skilled manpower in the science and technology industry and the dwindling number of PhDs.

The academy is expected to produce 1,000 PhDs in science and technology and about 120 PhDs in engineering annually from the fifth year onwards.

AcSIR is envisaged as a set-up that will network between the 37 CSIR laboratories, pool resources and faculty across these to create a national level academy with a strong research focus.

The CSIR has 4,500 scientists in diverse branches of science and engineering, of which 2,500 could effectively be utilized for activities of the proposed academy. India produced 8,420 PhDs in science and engineering in 2006, while China churned out 22,953 PhDs

(Agencies)