Yesterday, Monday, November 8, in a cabinet session, all the scheduled bills were approved, but the only thing on the list that did not get approval was the creation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Although it is natural that one or more projects were not approved, the issue of the creation of the aforementioned ministry could not go unnoticed, not only because it was an election promise, but also because of the endorsement of the presidential speech that sounded. To point out, it was more of a directive, at least to the ardent promoter of the idea, Dr. Fesico Modesto Montoya, who Castillo had appointed as president of the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Energy and above all as presidential adviser on scientific affairs. Another disharmony from President Castillo causes uncertainty or is it time for the proposal to mature?
Good start, good tidings
On July 28, Pedro Castillo said his government would “promote the creation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation” in his message to the nation upon swearing-in and taking office as President of Peru in the Congress of the Republic. A month later, the president approved the creation of the ministry. Furthermore, he declared, “We are creating a Department of Science, Technology, and Research so that expertise and potential technological value to the United States and other countries will be part of our administration.”
On August 29, Castillo met at the Government Palace with a group of scientists led by Dr. Fesico Modesto Montoya to coordinate the bill creating the Ministry of Science and Technology. And to end the persuasion that the case is in line with everything, on September 9, the Executive Power appointed Modesto Montoya by R.S. No.
With all these developments and concrete facts, an enthusiastic and faithful Modesto Montoya noted: “The issue is that President Pedro Castillo wants to learn more about the scientific issues that Peru needs for development and have an added value. On the other hand, in this first stage, he wishes The President, as announced in the campaign and now endorsed, in the creation of the Ministry of Science and Technology of Peru.”
But how can the government not believe in the establishment of the Ministry of Science and Technology?
On September 20, Pedro Castillo confirmed that his government would “take the first step towards the establishment of the MCTI” at no less than the international level, in his address to the session of the OAS Permanent Council. Once back in Peru, the government through RM 216-2021-PCM created a multi-sectoral working group of a temporary nature responsible for preparing a bill establishing, regulating and functions of a ministry in the field of science, technology and innovation with Chapter 31 October.
On September 22, Guido Bellido in his capacity as PCM said that the MCTI would be established and that in the first 100 days of the Castillo government there would be results (symposium “Future Scientific Research in the Grau Sea organized by the Peruvian Navy). On September 25, Modesto Montoya came out again to say publicly The government is determined to propose the MCTI and urge the political class to support this initiative.
Everything seemed to indicate that the project to create the Ministry of Science and Technology was a reality when on October 16 the government defined through DS 164-2021-PCM General Policy of the Government 2021-2026 outlining ten major axes of the government with short, medium and long term prospects for Peru On the bicentenary, where the third pillar of science, technology and innovation emphasizes the position of the government in promoting this issue through the establishment of the Ministry of Science and Technology. How can you not believe that something goes with a yes or a yes!
Ministry goes, but …
And it came on October 25, when the new Prime Minister, Mírtha Vázquez, in her address to Congress to request a vote of confidence from her Cabinet, said the Executive would introduce the project to create a Ministry of Science and Technology in the first quarter of 2022 (is that the reason?).
If the executive branch’s decision in PCM Mirtha Vásquez’s speech was to postpone the proposal until the beginning of next year, why was the approval of the Ministry of Science and Technology bill put on the agenda? Socialize it at the cabinet level? Then why schedule it for approval?
According to sources within the government, in yesterday’s cabinet meeting, President Castillo put the issue on the agenda, contrary to what was indicated and decided by former Prime Minister Mírtha Vázquez. On the other hand, in the Council of Ministers, although there has been no rejection of the proposal, there are many comments on the bill presented, especially from an economic point of view and in terms of the intention of its early creation.
It cannot be indicated that the Ministry of Science and Technology really was or not, it is clear that soon (as Castillo said) it will not be so. However, if there is no unanimously decided support at the executive level for the approval proposal, the more complex the expectations become when it (if it does) reach Congress where it is expected that there will be fierce opposition or questioning of the government’s proposal. However, this postponement can also represent the positive. The socialization of the bill’s proposal document, not only to the scientific community as a whole (outside the circle of Dr. Modesto Montoya) but also to other actors in civil society, i.e. beyond the science of scientists, and above all to achieve consensus and broad support so necessary when faced with majority opposition government in Congress.
And for those excited about the promise of a Ministry of Science and Technology, he reminded them: “Science is the greatest antidote to the poison of enthusiasm…” Adam Smith.
And for those who doubt the creation of a Peruvian Ministry of Science and Technology, say to them: “Four things cannot be hidden for long: science, stupidity, wealth and poverty.” Ibn Rushd.
“Award-winning zombie scholar. Music practitioner. Food expert. Troublemaker.”