Deepmala 13 – Indian Science and Technology in the 21st Century

Our policy on science and technology would have to be directed along five lines. The first priority will be to use the great powers of science and technology to meet the basic human needs particularly taking note of locale-specific situations; these would relate to food, health, water, energy, employment, shelter etc. The second would be to use science and technology to create wealth, both by enterprises as well as by individual Indian entrepreneurs. The third would be to embark on a major thrust in emerging knowledge based areas such as informatics, biotechnology, new and renewable energy sources, new materials and environment-related programmes. In all of these. India can make a major headway and surge ahead of the rest of the world and use this position to its advantage in the global technological scenario. The fourth relates to strategic areas, where for love or for money, technologies will not be available to us. This would involve nuclear energy, defence research and space science and technologies. Fortunately, we have built self-reliance and enormous capabilities over the past few decades in all these areas.

What is our stock-in-trade? The world acknowledges the high calibre of Indian scientists, engineers and technologies. The obvious proof of this is the fact that while products of few other Indian enterprises command international prestige and price, the products of our higher educational institutions are in great demand internationally. The contribution of Indians to the growth of science and technology in developed countries has been widely appreciated. Can we not then garner all these energies and contribute to building the new India in a TEAM INDIA spirit? We certainly can. But for this to happen will also need to ensure that the finest minds, who seek to work on what excites them most, are provided with the environment and opportunity to pursue their interests with the fullest zeal. The government has the prime responsibility to create a great leveraging by using the large base of highly trained manpower created by its institutions of higher learning. The Indian hopes of the next millennium will have to be pinned on this rich resource.