History of Science & Technology in India


The new scheme of Civil Services (Main) Examination – 2013 has Science and Technology as a theme in General Studies, Paper – III. In view of that we shall explore the growth of Science and Technology (S & T) in India. Science & Technology has enormous significance for economic growth at the macro level and for building business competitiveness at the micro level. Globalization and liberalization have thrown up immense opportunities and some challenges for S&T.

                                                                        In an increasingly competitive world, Indian industry needs the support of indigenous S&T in a big way. Over the past few years, it has been increasingly recognized that greater coordination and cooperation between industry on the one hand and the R&D/academic institutions on the other is necessary for facing these challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities offered. At the macro level, S&T management should focus on meeting the needs of the nation (including industry), and encompass a wide spectrum of activities; namely basic research, applied research, technology transfer, design, development, fabrication, tests and trials, manufacturing, marketing, maintenance and product support during the life cycle. At the micro level, R&D institutions and the academia must move from R&D to R&D and Engineering so that the indigenous technology can meet the specific requirements of the Indian industry.

In the present liberalised, competitive environment, industry should pay much more attention to the external sources of technology and upgrade its technology through quantum leaps in technological inputs. It should anticipate and take advantage of technological changes to develop new products. Customers’ experiences and preferences may project new demands, which will stimulate the development of newer technologies. Technology management for industry can, thus, be viewed as a continuous process.

In order to strengthen the interface between industry—R&D—academia and to enhance the level of industry participation, appropriate steps need to be taken at various levels by all concerned — Government, industry associations, R&D institutions -and universities. The awareness of mutual strengths and requirements would require measures like: joint workshops/seminars and exhibitions; promotion of sandwich programmes involving attachment of students to an industry during their academic stints; establishment of sustained one-to-one linkages between R&D/ academic institutions and the industries located in a particular region; and setting up of accurate, upto- date, reliable, realistic and user-friendly database on indigenous, technological expertise/ infrastructure, S&T personnel, R&D programmes, technological breakthroughs and innovations etc.

Encouraging the mobility of S&T personnel between industry and R&D/academic institutions would also be a thrust area. Academic institutions and R&D laboratories also need to organise appropriate training programmes for industry personnel in order to cater to the specific requirement of industry. Policy, procedures and systems should be reformed to encourage the academic faculty to accept contract/collaborative research for industry.

Technology transfer to industry would be another thrust area. R&D/academic institutions should give appropriate importance to design and product engineering aspects, the application and constant upgrading of the technology to be transferred. Interaction with the industry should not end with technology transfer but the agency providing the technology must constantly interact with the user industry for problem solving, technology absorption and improvement upgradation of the technology. Government and industry associations should work together for the establishment of independent test facilities for reliable quality-checks, calibration and also for technology validation. Establishment of Industry S&T Interface Institutions (ISTI), with technology management centres manned by qualified personnel, could also be considered, besides the establishment of S&T entrepreneurship parks, Technology Business Incubators, upgrading R&D infrastructure of the industry through consortiums of industry associations. Incentive/support measures would also need to be introduced for promoting the purchase of products developed through indigenous technologies.

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